Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

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Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby Scarab on Tue Sep 16, 2014 7:44 am

Okay. I have a plan, guys. I know what I'm going to do between now and NaNoWriMo.
I have countless word documents on my computer. My problem is, in part, that I come up with vague snippets and then never move past that vague, 'interesting' phase where they are malleable. If any of you struggling out there, you might like to try this. You don't have to, I mean, this plan might not work, but hey, let's try, eh?

This is a screenshot of my current word documents folder.

Image
Yes that's a Yogscast headcanons folder I FEEL NO SHAME.

This is just the main Documents folder. I am disorganized and nothing is in the right place (yours might be the opposite in which case I envy you). There's stuff in here two or three years old and other stuff I wrote this week (that picture is organized by date opened). There are ideas, story snippets, and documents where I'm just storing information to be copy-pasted. I'm going to focus on this folder, rather than any of the ones contained.

The goal is as follows.

    1. Every day I will open, in alphabetical order, one document.
    2. I will examine said document, figure out what the hell I was thinking and whether or not it's relevant now.
    3. I will then do something with it: anything at all. No matter what the document is. I'll use that document to create a story, a fanfic, a hypothetical conversation, an essay, whatever, it doesn't matter. The point is I will create something based on the original. This kind of works even for people with very organized folders.
    4. What I do will, of course, depend on what the original document was. But I have to do SOMETHING creative with it, even if it's just a list, or a saved copy-paste. If it's an old bit of writing, I might rewrite it. If it's an old essay, I will reconsider it from another perspective. If it's some rambling bit of stupidity I will make it sound like... not a rambling bit of stupidity (I thought this through guys). If it's a list of Homestuck Tiers that I thought was a great idea in the middle of the night then by gosh I will do something with the Homestuck Tiers I thought were a great idea in the middle of the night!
    5. If by some weird twist of fate I actually LIKE the document as it is, I will simply edit it, analyse it, and move on.
    6. I must try to do at least one thing a day although I can vary how long it is, depending on how much time I actually have that day.
    7. There is no overall aim of this. I am not going to post the stuff I make anywhere (unless I actually really like it and want to share it and whatever).


My goal with this is to try and figure out exactly where I stand as a writer, in preparation for this year's NaNoWriMo. I just thought I'd post this here on the off chance that anybody else here a) has folders with the same level of not-organization as mine or b) just feels like wasting a few hours on the internet.

I start tomorrow.

Wish me luck. Good luck to any of you deciding to give this a go. Feel free to share bits you've been working on, or that you really enjoyed doing and share what you might have learned from the experience.
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby JRPictures on Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:10 am

Good luck, it looks to be a very interesting challenge.

As for where I stand on the writing front. I'm still iffy, I am considering doing NaNowriMo but I don't know what to write about and as it stands I still haven't revisited the script for my tv show pilot or even my NaNoWrimo novel from last year.

Hell the most progress I've even made lately is having a job. Still I do have an idea I'd like to put to force some day, especially sine the Cyberpunk RP I've been running has kinda come to a halt.
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby Pixelmage on Tue Sep 16, 2014 9:45 am

That's a very nice idea. I'm kind of curious about what you'll cook up from all those ingredients, to tell the truth. :3
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby Blurred_9L on Tue Sep 16, 2014 11:32 am

I once tried something like this by writing into a blog, the basic premise was to force myself to write a short story every once in a while so that after a few years I'd have gathered around 1000 short stories (the blog was named 1000 paper cranes... silly me :P), but yeah, since I'm a bit of a lazy bum, I'm currently on story number 7 :roll:
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby narrativedilettante on Tue Sep 16, 2014 1:46 pm

Good luck with your plan!

It doesn't seem like something that would work for me, but I'll be interested to hear how it goes.
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Wed Sep 17, 2014 12:15 am

I think this is a really cool and meritorious project/idea and while my computer files are mostly perfectly ordered I have nine notebooks, labelled A through I, which I have been scribbling random notes and thoughts in for the past ten years, and I would like to join you in your endeavour by doing something with one page/item from a notebook each day.

Full disclosure: Notebook D disintegrated because I foolishly used a spiral-bound notebook and is no longer with us; I can only find half of either notebook A or notebook B (the second half, without its letter on the cover) and none of the other, because those two are OLD.

But tonight I transcribed from where the notebooks begin an epilogue for a novel of which I only ever wrote Part One and saved it in the file for that novel, so... that's something, right?
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby Scarab on Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:16 pm

JRPictures wrote:As for where I stand on the writing front. I'm still iffy, I am considering doing NaNowriMo but I don't know what to write about and as it stands I still haven't revisited the script for my tv show pilot or even my NaNoWrimo novel from last year.


Yeah tbh, that's kind of half the reason I'm doing this. I'm shaky with my stance for NaNoWriMo this year. I want to do it, but I'm not sure what to do, and with my previous year's entry still unfinished at 130k (yeah that's stupidly long, I have no idea how I'm going to make it Young Adult Appropriate Length)... I am feeling uncomfortable. I really want the first draft done before I start this year's project on an entirely different story.

I tend to have entirely different goals for NanoWriMo every year. The first couple years my goal was simply "Hit the Target", which I basically succeeded. This year's plan is to actually FINISH a story which is... actually harder for me than just hitting the target, because 50k is NOT actually an average novel length. I usually still have a tonne left to say.

Qara-Xuan Zenith wrote:But tonight I transcribed from where the notebooks begin an epilogue for a novel of which I only ever wrote Part One and saved it in the file for that novel, so... that's something, right?

That is pretty much something, yes. I also mourn the loss of your poor notebook, may it rest in peace.

Do you have similar problems to me? I notice that your own writing tends to be... quite concise and focussed. You at the very least seem to know where you're going and a rough idea of how to get there. My main worry about my writing is it's so... wishy washy. I have such difficulty actually going somewhere specific with it, and thus have trouble telling a coherent story. I may really enjoy the work of people such as, say, Margo Lanagan or Neil Gaiman, I... don't actually want to write LIKE them.

So like... how do you do that, Qara? Teach me your wisdom?

JRPictures wrote:Hell the most progress I've even made lately is having a job. Still I do have an idea I'd like to put to force some day, especially sine the Cyberpunk RP I've been running has kinda come to a halt.

That is awesome life progress and you should be as proud as you are of your writing ^_^
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby Scarab on Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:42 pm

So, day one was really nothing to speak of. I turned out about a thousand words of what gradually morphed into fanfic, but hey, it was writing! That constitutes as progress! (I have to say that otherwise Adell will give me the frowny face. Have you ever had Adell give you the frowny face? It is the worst thing in the world, you feel as if you've dropkicked a kitten and I would never dropkick kittens so... yeah. I'm just putting the inevitable off now.)

But today was rather more successful. I turned out two fragments. The first of these is inspired by something I was working on for... well, you guys, actually, although you don't see much of that here. The second is a hypothetical scene from a hypothetical sequel to my existing NanoNovel from last year (the 130k one which is still unfinished... yeah I'm not holding out much hope.)

Once again I really hope people are going to join me in sharing their writing here, this post shouldn't just be for me and everyone should feel free to post whatever they like (or don't like, as the case may be.)

Day Two. Document: Apocalpys1. Apparently this was based on the Metaguards.
*

Experiment 002, Entry 001

I'll admit, I didn't really believe in the Filaments until I saw one of them up close.

Can you blame me, though? There are people who live in the shadow of the things and they still don't want to believe it. And it isn't as if there are decent photographs or films, or any solid 'proof' to speak of: people tried. The colours shy away from film. Sometimes, with the best cameras and at the perfect time of day, you can just about capture a still of the cracks. They make it look like something went wrong with the development process. There are still people who insist the things are photoshopped.
A photographer I met back at the border told me that even real photographs are inaccurate. They're trying to catch the world on flat paper, she said, so there's no way they can look right.

The Filaments are spread so far apart, and information travels so slowly, it's barely worth sending an email when you'd be better off just walking. The farther away you get from one, the less real they sound. It's like... when the world collapsed around us, they were the lynch pins. They didn't appear to change at all.

Except they did change. A lot. You can't see it on the surface, but they're different all the same. I think that was probably the idea. See, this is how it works: there are the Filaments lancing across the planet, like gauges in the earth where giant walls used to be: gauges that glow in the dark and burn black in the day. Follow the Filaments, and eventually, theoretically, you'll come to a crossroads. that's where the magic happens.

I mean that almost entirely literally. You can feel it. Around here they whisper theories about the Filaments, about the way reality goes wrong within their shadow. People are afraid of them.

Which makes me kind of surprised that I found a ride, actually. Apparently he makes a good wage, he told me, bringing people here and back again.

'People come out here a lot?'

'More than you'd expect. I come back every few hours, and they usually have something to offer. We can't get much closer than this, though,' he scratches the back of the palomino horse latched up to the two wheeled cart. 'The horses don't like it.'
Somehow that doesn't surprise me. Horses know things. Most animals that aren't people know something about the Filaments.

'Can you see it, yet? Some people can already...' the driver asks me. I haven't asked his name; from the skittish attitude he has, I'm not sure he wants to tell me.

'Can you see it?' I ask because I'm genuinely curious.

He huffed something under his breath , dark and low, but when he spoke his voice was neon bright. 'Nope, not me, nothing but a mirage out there until I get a couple more miles in, but as I mentioned...' he gestures to the horse.

'You never said if you see it,' he asked. I guess he really is curious. I suppose I can't blame him. I'm pretty curious myself under the churning in my gut.

'...Yeah. I see it. Thanks for the ride.'

'Right well, the route comes back at-'

'You don't need to, 'the words are out before I can stop myself. because apparently, today is a day of brilliant decisions.
He raises an eyebrow at him.

'People haven't come back before?'

'No no... I mean,' he rubbed his receding hairline. 'Sometimes they don't come back . They always ask though.'

I give him my best impression of a smile. 'Not me.'

'You're just going to stay out here?'

'...Possibly?'

'After nightfall? You know what goes on out here after then, don't you?'

Pretty much I mean.. .sort of.. .um... it's a bit different everywhere so 'm making it up as I go a bit?'

My tone clearly isn't inspiring his confidence. it's not inspiring mine, either to be honest but come on, me, it's not like we have time to go back now, you used your last bit of spendable local currency in Graytown. He's looking back and forth between me, and the cracked outline of structures against the sunset behind me. 'I... look, I know you seem determined, but it's just... there's not much out there, is there? Just the buildings. And you can't very well go in the buildings, now, can you, they're probably not even there...' he trails off with a broken laugh.

'They're there. You said you've brought people out here before, this is just like that, right? '

'...Right... right maybe they are there, but...' People usually want to come back, he doesn't say. 'The thing is people go out there of their own accord, I see that, I understand that, I'm just the ferryman...' he trails off a bit, realising that possibly wasn't the best metaphor. Honestly, I've come up with worse myself so I can't exactly blame him. half of them are written on the scraps of paper in my rucksack.

I don't answer. I really have to stop Not Saying Things so deliberately. It's unnerving people. 'See, my daughter, she's about your age and-'

Oh. So that's what this is about. makes sense.

'Do we have to have this discussion? Really?' I'm visibly wincing, I can tell. Fathers and daughters have not been my strong point for a long while, and Im getting tired of people projecting one image or another onto me.

That's unfair, isn't it? it's not like anybody can help it, with reality so... unsure of itself, these days.

The driver seems to get my point though, because he falls silent, shakes his head slightly, and hops back up into his cart seat.
I turn to face the building on the horizon, drawing my breath and my nerves along with it. Oka. Just like we practised at the last Settlement. Nice and easy. The cold burns in my fingertips and I close my gloved hands around my palms. Not here. There's a time and a place for dramatics, and that time and place is never on the border of a Filament area, with an audience of one, frightened cart-driver.

Well, not this cart driver anyway. There was the one in Ireland but I'm trying to blanch that one from my mind, thanks.
I can make out some of it, already. It's some kind of factory/apartment complex, perhaps both perhaps neither, perhaps completely imagined. The way the world changed when the Fracture took place means just about anything is possible. But the point is, every now and then, at night, it lights up like the Las Vegas strip. That's what they always do. Sometimes all the buildings flicker at once, but they never go out. Not until morning when the sun rises and paints the cracks in the sky the colour of blood.

It's not an attractive colour combination, but it's where I'm going, inner artist be damned. I know where I'm headed now. There's only one way left to go anyway (no fucking way am I going back to Graytown. One near death experience is more than enough for me, thanks.)

They've led me all the way here, with nothing more than photographs and ancient emails and memories placed at just the right points and, at one point, I am pretty sure they left an actual breadcrumb trail (I mean that entirely literally. I ran out a couple of miles back, so I was really hungry, too). It's amazingly clever... and a little bit convoluted, if I'm being honest.

But then, they are the Metaguards. I shouldn't expect anything less.


*

Experiment 002, Entry 002

They used to call it Sunset Lagoon, in the days before the Echoes. But somebody had crossed out the name on the kitschy, cursive-lettered sign with a spray can and written in its place:

BLOOD LAKE.

Kam Li was smirking at the sign with her arms folded. 'Creative.'

'I think they were going for accuracy more than poetry,' Somer chuckled. He was checking their kit in the boot of the car, counting out mirrors, and meccano frameworks and cameras, most of which probably wouldn't work, but that Mark always insisted they bring anyway.

'Looks like a perfectly normal lake to me,' Kam Li shrugged dismissively, shoving her hands deep into her pockets. 'And wow, is that ever a portentous thing to say, sorry guys.'

'We'll forgive you, this one.'

'This is why I like you, Som, you're so generous. So are you-'

'No, Kam, I'm not feeling anything Echoey.'

'I might not have been about to ask,' Kam objected, looking over her shoulder. ''Sides which, in case you haven't noticed, you're not exactly the top scoring sensitive around here anymore. Hey Galen, how's the head?'

'It's alright, Kam, I'm not feeling anything either... and the new name is better,' Galen's voice was quiet in the back seat of the car. 'A Lagoon needs a barrier reef. They don't have barrier reefs here, not proper ones... We're doing it at school.'

'Right, anything they're not doing at that school of yours?' Matt smirked.

'Well whenever I ask about Echoes they usually yell at me and tell me to stop changing the subject,' Galen was stepping out of the car now. He was wearing a coat three times too big for him. It gave him the look of a slightly fluffy brown marshmallow. Tom had burst out laughing when he saw it, but right now, Somer sort of envied the additional warmth it was probably giving. His own fingertips were already burning cold beneath his gloves.

'That'll be right,' Matt sniggered. 'You ignore them, Galen. Talk about whatever you want.'

'Just try not to get yourself expelled in the process, please, not after the fuss we had to get you in.' Somer muttered, biting his lip at Matt's usual... blaséness about the whole issue of schooling. Out of all of them, he and Somer had understood Galen's desire to actually go to school the least (although Somer had to admit there wasn't a lot of logic in his dislike). Still, he didn't see how encouraging him to get in trouble was in any way going to help. 'Or get us arrested.'

'Again.'

'Right, again. I'm not big on the getting arrested.'

'So what exactly is going on around here, anyway?' matt muttered. 'Because all I'm seeing is a great big body of water.'

That's what I was thinking...' Kam nodded. Then she turned to face their small, marshmallow-outfitted charge. 'So then, student, what kind of lake is it?' she asked, stepping away from the sign, and away from the trees that framed the distant water, she was a red and black shape in a frame of silver and grey, unusual, and yet strangely in place. 'Oxbow... um... Bigger Oxbow? Being honest, that's all I remember from High School geography.'

'Nothing natural,' Galen shook his head, his voice that same characteristically quiet wisp that you had to lean close to pick up. 'It's not really a lake.'

'He's right. All the maps list it as a reservoir,' Somer nodded. 'That's manmade. Second biggest in the UK, apparently. Lost out to a place in Northumberland.'

'Right, so a manmade structure, then,' Matt murmured quietly. 'That explains why they have so many Echoes, you don't get them around natural bodies all that much.'

'Don't often get them there. But there are reasons for it happening, sometimes. Sometimes old things and new things overlap,' Kam corrected him. The fact that echoes didn't often form outside of cities was actually a blessing in disguise. It meant there were places you could go, if you really wanted to get away from them. Entire towns had built up in country landscapes, against protest, by people wanting to escape the seemingly dammed cities where the Echoes liked to form. People assumed the countryside was safer. The thing was, that as soon as any of those places reached a certain size, it just seemed to kick the whole process off again. Echoes would form in places which had never so much as witnessed an attack from afar.
Echoes and people were so intricately tied together.

'Mark said this place has Echoes almost constantly,' Kam Li went on. 'I highly doubt we just happened to turn up in one of the moments where it wasn't happening.'

'He was probably exaggerating,' Somer pointed out. 'I mean, there's a whole town over there, and the population is apparently in the region of 90k. Who'd live in a place that had Echoes haunting it all the time? You've been to Dayport.'

The town had grown close to the lake for a reason though, it seemed, and you could still the remnants of industrial society scattered along its banks: the power stations and the piers and the docks, slowly lighting up as the evening gloom descended like a blanket.

Weird to think that this is all manmade,' Matt said, looking at Galen. 'You alright?'

'It's cold.'

'Yep.'

'Where are we, again?'

'Scotland. Well, almost Scotland. Somewhere along the border of it. As you've probably already figured out, it's a little hard to find on the maps.' He had seen Galen squinting at the folded map for most of the journey, and after a while the GPS had gotten so confused it just began repeating "please reselect destination" at them over and over again and wouldn't turn off. It was sort of creepy, so Matt had started mimicking it, making it sound like a bad impression of Zeke, which had them laughing for most of the way here.

'Because you know, Mark gets his kicks out of sending us into places pulled straight out of American Horror Stories. See that, Galen...' she took the boy's shoulder turning him to follow the point of her finger out into the lake, and towards the mess of complex metal piers and structures built not too far away from them. 'That's usually the place the bad guy corners the heroes, on the way to the boat.'

'Kam...'

'What? He grew up in a lab having things stabbed into him, Som, I don't think he's particularly delicate.'

'Doesn't mean you have to be an arse about it. Come on, we need to find the Bridge,' Somer flicked off the camera in his hand. it needed charging anyway. Times like this, though, Somer really felt like the ghost hunter he purportedly wasn't, sending beams of camera-light splintering through old trees and across spooky looking landscapes. It wasn't the usual location for a Static Chase, that much was clear, and the massive open spaces all around were making him feel worse than he would have in a city, rather than better. Thewhole thing was silly really. After all, there was no such thing as ghosts. That truth was as fundamental as it was frightening. Ghosts were something you could conceptualise and fit into mythology or local rumour and legend. The echoes weren't Ghosts, they were Happenings, and records of them were as solid as the records for any flood or hurricane.

They just happened to look an awful lot like ghosts. Which could kill you by touching you.

S. Thompson, 2014.
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:01 pm

Thank you for sharing your writing, Scarab! You are awesome cool.

Scarab wrote:Do you have similar problems to me? I notice that your own writing tends to be... quite concise and focussed. You at the very least seem to know where you're going and a rough idea of how to get there. My main worry about my writing is it's so... wishy washy. I have such difficulty actually going somewhere specific with it, and thus have trouble telling a coherent story. I may really enjoy the work of people such as, say, Margo Lanagan or Neil Gaiman, I... don't actually want to write LIKE them.

So like... how do you do that, Qara?


You asked me about my writing so now I am going to spend a million words talking about how I think; I apologize in advance.

I mentioned my notebooks before: those are especially useful (and used) for writing down errant thoughts which aren't quite big enough to be ideas for stories, yet, but one day might be. I get these crazy thoughts and I either write them down, or I chew them over in my head so much that I don't need to because I just remember them (or I don't do either and forget them and lose them forever but that is sad).

For me, the magic happens when two or more ideas "collide" with each other in my head. So when I'm starting something, I usually have two or three of the following three things (they might not be in different columns, of course, just these are the types of items that my stories tend to grow from: (I will give examples for all of these from the story that gave me Ben)
  1. A general plot ("a quest to find lost luggage")
  2. A theme or message that I want to put forth in the story (Duty can be more important than love)
  3. A vague idea of a character (Ben)

(I should note here that "setting" is not on this list because with I think one exception I have never had a setting at the start of the story; I discover the geography with my characters, as needed, or forget about it entirely.)

Each of these things was floating around in my head or in a notebook, with a mental note attached of "this belongs in a story someday". Then either a magic "aha!" moment came where I realized that these disparate elements could fit together, or I go rooting through the recent items in my notebook to find useful ideas to marry to my latest one, and ta-da! Two or three of the driving elements of a story!

So while I am flattered by you calling my writing focused, that is entirely a product of my system of waiting until I have most of the puzzle pieces in place-- once I've got the plot AND the theme, for example, quite a lot of other things fall into place; it's the difference between having one wall or two built before I try to lay the roof.

Everyone's process is different and what works for me probably sounds like insanity to every other person on the planet. Still, based on what works for me, if you feel like you have trouble keeping your writing directed, I would totally recommend trying to pick out two or three of these "driving elements" to form your frame before you begin (of course for all I know you do this already and I am just blathering madly).
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby Victin on Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:59 pm

Qara-Xuan Zenith wrote:Thank you for sharing your writing, Scarab! You are awesome cool.

Scarab wrote:Do you have similar problems to me? I notice that your own writing tends to be... quite concise and focussed. You at the very least seem to know where you're going and a rough idea of how to get there. My main worry about my writing is it's so... wishy washy. I have such difficulty actually going somewhere specific with it, and thus have trouble telling a coherent story. I may really enjoy the work of people such as, say, Margo Lanagan or Neil Gaiman, I... don't actually want to write LIKE them.

So like... how do you do that, Qara?

Words.

I already quoted Qara on how your writing is cool, do I need to repeat that? No, but I'll: your writing is cool. I don't know if I understood them well though @_@ But I liked the concept of the Filaments thing. If they are portals to another world in a way it'd be interesting if the reason it's cold around them is because they transport energy from here to another world, and I think that notion is cool. Pun intended.

Now, in regards to Qara... How exactly do you write your ideas down? I apparently only have displaced ideas nowadays, and succeeding at writing them down to combine them later would be great if I actually did that. Most of the time I feel the notes aren't... Good, or properly written, or incomplete, or something, and then I erase them or give up trying to write stuff down. That's why I stopped trying to do that. Incidentally, it indeed is sad to keep an idea on your had, forget them and lose them forever.
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby narrativedilettante on Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:25 pm

Scarab wrote:
JRPictures wrote:As for where I stand on the writing front. I'm still iffy, I am considering doing NaNowriMo but I don't know what to write about and as it stands I still haven't revisited the script for my tv show pilot or even my NaNoWrimo novel from last year.


Yeah tbh, that's kind of half the reason I'm doing this. I'm shaky with my stance for NaNoWriMo this year. I want to do it, but I'm not sure what to do, and with my previous year's entry still unfinished at 130k (yeah that's stupidly long, I have no idea how I'm going to make it Young Adult Appropriate Length)... I am feeling uncomfortable. I really want the first draft done before I start this year's project on an entirely different story.

I tend to have entirely different goals for NanoWriMo every year. The first couple years my goal was simply "Hit the Target", which I basically succeeded. This year's plan is to actually FINISH a story which is... actually harder for me than just hitting the target, because 50k is NOT actually an average novel length. I usually still have a tonne left to say.


I've never actually finished one of my NaNo projects. I don't intend to do it this year, because I don't need another 50k+ partially-finished project lying around. I have thought about maybe taking NaNo and trying to force myself to write 50k words on last year's novel, filling it out and hopefully getting closer to a conclusion.

Then again, I don't know that I still like my novel from last year enough to finish it.
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby JRPictures on Thu Sep 18, 2014 9:20 pm

Scarab wrote:
JRPictures wrote:As for where I stand on the writing front. I'm still iffy, I am considering doing NaNowriMo but I don't know what to write about and as it stands I still haven't revisited the script for my tv show pilot or even my NaNoWrimo novel from last year.


Yeah tbh, that's kind of half the reason I'm doing this. I'm shaky with my stance for NaNoWriMo this year. I want to do it, but I'm not sure what to do, and with my previous year's entry still unfinished at 130k (yeah that's stupidly long, I have no idea how I'm going to make it Young Adult Appropriate Length)... I am feeling uncomfortable. I really want the first draft done before I start this year's project on an entirely different story.

I tend to have entirely different goals for NanoWriMo every year. The first couple years my goal was simply "Hit the Target", which I basically succeeded. This year's plan is to actually FINISH a story which is... actually harder for me than just hitting the target, because 50k is NOT actually an average novel length. I usually still have a tonne left to say.

I think in the end, NaNo is a decently good motivator for writing. But its goal is a bit too unattainable for me as it stands (seriously I only got 5040 words down, which is decent enough for me anyway). I'm much better off writing at my own pace. At least I have plenty of stories and characters to put on.

Scarab wrote:
JRPictures wrote:Hell the most progress I've even made lately is having a job. Still I do have an idea I'd like to put to force some day, especially sine the Cyberpunk RP I've been running has kinda come to a halt.

That is awesome life progress and you should be as proud as you are of your writing ^_^

Aw thank you, even if the job still gives me a lot of time off.

Maybe I should try writing up my Cyberpunk idea around here or maybe move the RP here, since I'm bound to get better progress here than on TVT. Especially since I really want to see people's reactions to the big twists I've put in the story.
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby Qara-Xuan Zenith on Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:31 pm

Victin wrote:Now, in regards to Qara... How exactly do you write your ideas down? I apparently only have displaced ideas nowadays, and succeeding at writing them down to combine them later would be great if I actually did that. Most of the time I feel the notes aren't... Good, or properly written, or incomplete, or something, and then I erase them or give up trying to write stuff down. That's why I stopped trying to do that. Incidentally, it indeed is sad to keep an idea on your had, forget them and lose them forever.


Ever since I started carrying a purse, I have had a very small stitched or stapled lined notebook-- about big enough to fit in the palm of my hand-- and a pencil or pen in my purse at all times. You are not a lady and probably do not carry a purse but you probably DO have pockets or a backpack or something so you too can carry a notebook around at all times. At first it will feel forced but honestly once you're going to carry around a notebook and pen everywhere you go you'll feel silly if you don't write things in it so whenever you have a ridiculous half-formed one-liner whatever idea you pull out the notebook and scribble it down. I also have a very simple barebones notepad app on my phone so when I'm too lazy to even get my notebook out I still have no excuse for not writing the thought down.

Never erase rough stuff. Even if you don't know what to do with it or don't think you can do anything with it ever or don't even think it means anything. 'Don't erase it. That's why you should write in pen, not pencil. Also because pens are easier to write with when you don't have a better flat surface than the palm of your hand. The only time it is ever okay to erase/delete a rough idea is if you think it will get you arrested.

I mean, honestly? I have things in my notebook like "FACT: Montreal police cars look like hats" (direct quote). What does that mean? I don't know. Can I ever use this? Absolutely not. Is it moronic? Absolutely yes. Did it make me laugh when I saw it ten years later? Also yes. And maybe it will inspire me someday. (If you like I can continue sharing absurd fragments I find in my notebooks as I go through them.) I found a doodle from seven years ago on which I'd written "Query: Abstract steak --?" and I have not the foggiest clue what I meant but now that I've seen it again it's gotten my creative juices flowing in an attempt to use it somewhere, somehow.
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby Scarab on Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:49 am

Qara-Xuan Zenith wrote:Ever since I started carrying a purse, I have had a very small stitched or stapled lined notebook-- about big enough to fit in the palm of my hand-- and a pencil or pen in my purse at all times.

I really need to do that but god, the things are just too small for me... I need a decent sized notebookto even try and get my ideas down.
They sometimes say, "the place where I am right now was circled on a map for me"... Unfortunately, I kind of suck at orienteering.
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby Scarab on Sun Sep 21, 2014 8:55 am

Okay so, yesterday I... did not write anything. Although that said, this was because the thing I was writing the day before really took over my brain meats. I really like what I'm doing with it, but it's also a little bit gory, so I don't think I'll be posting it here. Today's document in the documents folder, however, was interesting because... it's not actually a document. It's a picture.

Image

This artwork isn't mine, it's one of the quick doodles done by my friend, Steph. They're a couple of characters in a web comic we're planning base don Minecraft and...well, I'm sure she wouldn't mind me iterating on them a bit. (yes, Faith is an incorrigible flirt. Yes, they end up married).

*


Day Four. Document: Picture of friend's web comic characters.

There was a baby sheep stuck in the fence.

This was not the first time. The little blighters were tiny, mostly made of wool, and designed to fit through even the smallest cubic spaces seemingly purely for the purposes of annoying him. They could also smell the dye that comes from the dropping pits every third month of the year and clearly didn't like the idea of being dumped in it, to turn them into whatever colours were being requested by townsfolk this year.

Well, that just plain sucked for them, didn't it? But Bas had a job to do ad a sheep with delusions of a great escape were not on his rather extensive to do list. The sheep gave a pitiful mewl as he gripped its hind quarters to pull it back from its attempted escape. It was not impressed, squealing and kicking and the next thing Bas knew a hard hoof straight to the face. he swore, hands slipping as he let go.

And of course, the thing bounced over the fence and away into the courtyard.

Well. That was just great, wasn't it?

'Freakin' damn it,' he muttered, hopping the fence and barely having to stand on his toes to do so. 'Always that exact dye that sets 'em off, this bloody town needs to stop asking for so much orange.'

So he went in search, once again, of an escaped sheep that really did not want to be dyed this year. The farm was empty bar a couple of people working the far off fields, which was the way Basek liked it. It meant he actually had the chance to get some work done without being subjected to odd looks or overly tactful questions (at best).

The additional plus side to this was that nobody was around to see him running around after his escaped livestock.
There were advantages to being highly antisocial.

'Oh come on, you annoying little... They'll blame me if ya get into the carrots. They'll find a way!'
'Are you always this rude to your livestock?'

The voice came from behind him, and Bas stifled a groan... then it dawned on him that the voice was a new one.
Newcomers weren't a common thing in Axel. Something about it being stuck in the middle of a desolate wasteland miles away from most public conveniences, so Bas knew who it was before he even looked. He had seen her yesterday, in the mayor's office, along with that strange employer of hers who smelled like cocao-bac and sour apples.

"I was thinking she had to be yours," the girl was smirking, clutching the infant sheep in entirely the wrong way and making it squirm. "Nobody else around here keeps pet sheep."

"They're not pets. Don't you know a farm when you see it?" Bas spits this out before he can even think of saying thank you but the girl does not seem anymore perturbed than she had when he met her the other day in Tom's office. Her preening superior or manager or whoever her was laughing at one of Tom's unfunny jokes, while she had been more interested in Tom's alarming taste in interior decor (blown up paintings of skulls didn't really do it for Bas anyway, though Tom sometimes joked that it kept people from staying in his office longer than he wanted).

Her hair is sticking up around her ears like it refuses to obey the law of any comb in the land and her smile is...

Her smile is very unfamiliar.

She stands there with her hair sticking up, and a squirming baby sheep in her arms, and one of those high-class upper town dresses and he's not sure whether she looks more like a character in a renaissance painting, or a background character in the first few chapters of The Creeper Saga (which incidentally, also took place on a farm).

Basek reached out his hands to take the baby lamb back. It started squirming the second it left her arms and returned to his own and he turned and high tailed it back to the pen as fast as he could.

Of course, she came with him.

'What, not even a "hello"?' she said. She didn't sound offended though. Her voice had the tiniest hint of a smirk. 'I mean a "thank you" would be nice too, that little guy almost ran right into the road, but I'm not picky, it wasn't out of my way.'
'No, that much is evidentially clear,' Basek muttered. 'It's not as if the road is roughly a hundred metres away from here.'

'I was out for a walk,' the girl answered brightly.

There was a creaking noise and when Bas turned around, she was...

Sitting on the fencepost. Hoenstly to Notch, she was sitting on the fencepost. And what's more, she was.. .studying him... but not the way he'd seen the Medics study him whenever he happened to get within reach of their apothecary. (Not that Bas much enjoyed visiting the labs, but Tom insisted, "for safety's sake best to get a check up now and then." Bas has tried telling the damn fool that this does nobody any good, least of all him, but whatever.

The mayor seems reassured by the tactic and Bas will tolerate that much for him.) More like... curiosity and interest than vaguely guarded suspicion.

'Alright, fine. Thanks. Sorry for the trouble, Miss...'

'Faith,' the girl interrupts brightly, as if glad he's finally asked (although he hadn't meant to). 'Faith Mercy.'
'...Faith Mercy.'

'It's a family thing, 'she rolled her eyes slightly, but there was a fondness to it. 'They like their virtues. My great grandmother's name was Sincerity Blake.'

'...Sincerity.'

'I know, and trust me, it was hardly accurate.' She kicked her legs against the pen more like a child than a grown woman... He really has no idea why she was still here. Perhaps she was merely nosy.

When he looked up again her hand was held out in front of her face and she was waiting patiently for him to take it still smiling. 'Pleasure to meet you... Bas, right? That's what the Mayor Called you in his office the other day. Basek Kaizoa. Do you run the farm?'

Bas grunted. 'Did you think I had some other reason for hanging around in a sheep pen?'

Faith shrugged. 'Maybe you just liked sheep? I think they're rather cute myself. We had three of them at home. We named them Lucky, Bubbly and Dog. it liked to fetch sticks.'

Bas... had no idea what to say to that, so he simply did what he was used to doing around people who weren't Tom and stayed quiet. He wasn't used to this, to people trying to hold conversations with him for extended periods of time or indeed, any period of time at all, but he supposed that only showed exactly how little the city-girl really knew about Axel.

If she knew anything more about him she would be keeping her distance just like the rest of them.

'Must be a lot of work, feeding all of these people. Do you use Crop rotation schedules? I imagine you could get away with that here, since everything in this town is so... well... regular.' She looked up to where sunlight splintered through the heavy blocks of glass that made up the dome covering Axel. Then she yelped, almost falling backwards off the fence in her surprise. 'Oh! Well, would you look at that!'

Basek drew a deep breath and let it out. He already knew what he'd see when he looked. There were block brushers up there right now. Basek could just barely see them balance precariously on the glass cubes outside of the dome, heavily dressed in rabbit wool and leather as they brushed the snow away from their protective rooftop. 'What's that all about, then?' Faith muttered. 'They're gonna break their necks if they fall.'

'They don't fall, they have ropes,' Bas muttered, and at her enquiring look found he had to add. 'They're Snow brushers aren't they?' She continued to look confused so he added, exasperated. 'Well how else do ya think we get the light in here whenever it's been snowing? People go up there, an' they brush the snow off, otherwise the whole place would end up dark in daytime and we'd have monsters spawnin' on our heads.'

'Ohhhh, see what I mean, Basek Kaizoa? regular!' Faith laughed, all sharp accent and amusement. 'But not every town in the world has a foolproof protection against anything from the outside world getting in. Does make you a little bit... isolated though, doesn't it?'

'That's the way I like it,' Bas muttered.

'Hey, never let it be said that I can't take a hint. Would you like me to go?' Faith asked.

Bas stopped what he was doing and turned to look at her. The lamb was once again making as break for the gate but Bas let it. he was more interested in this obnoxious, strange woman who him home and was asking questions he didn't want to answer.
'I will you know, if you tell me to. I don't want to be a bother or anything. 'She sounded completely genuine, but then, Bas thought, it wasn't like he was the king of reading intentions.

'Okay' she said. 'But suppose I'll see you tonight anyway, what with Devere holding that meeting of his.'
'I don't go to the bar, so probably not.'

'Ah. Shame,' Faith said. 'Well, look after your sheep then.' And then she turned and walked away with her head held high, leaving bas to wonder what in the name of the void had just happened.

S. Thompson 2014
They sometimes say, "the place where I am right now was circled on a map for me"... Unfortunately, I kind of suck at orienteering.
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Re: Planned Writing Exercise for the Troubled.

Postby Scarab on Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:43 am

Today my writing exercise resulted in a fake textbook for the development of flight in a traditional fantasy society. I don't get very far with it. It was inspired by the description of a copy-paste document for the art I did of Rick's Pathfinder character, Kerisho, but this story does not take place in the Last sword Pathfinder verse (Unless Adell thinks it could fit, in which case, knock yourself out, man.)

...I really need a blog for this stuff.

The Eleven Archer and the First Flying Engine: A Study.
Part Two: Initial Conceptions of Flight.

The assumption that Elves, being the most long lived of the Realms indigenous habitants, are a particularly patient and traditional species, does little to inform us as to their interest in flight. Elven mythology is filled with examples of such qualities being hailed above all others as examples of magical supremacy. They were amongst the first to develop the Spell Tome Float, which would later be retranscribed into the relevant scrolls for Flight, Teleportation, and Telekinesis. In many of their religious and cultural ceremonies, birds and other winged beasts are a prominent feature, and it was believed that a bird not dissimilar to a phoenix laid the first egg that resulted in the creation of a variety of creatures such as Magma Golems and Crucible Trolls.

Far be it for the author of this text to generalise, however, for other species too have played their role in such developments. It is true that the initial concepts of non-magical powered flight cannot be traced to a specific realm, anymore than it can be traced to the wings of a single prehistoric avian. However there are clear trends towards slow-developing, yet highly advanced forms of technology emerging from Elven minds who, freed from the constraints of short life experienced by other species, have much longer to indulge in their learning's.

Initial concepts for the first successful flying machine, known today as The Wyvern, (see Fig 015) are quite plainly inspired by the classic design of hunting tools utilised by several of the Moraean Families. As many of these families utilised specific flute patterns to distinguish them from other local families, it was common for the flute to be designed at various points along the arrow shaft - affecting it's durability and speed, but also leading to a variety of designs, many of which travelled longer distances.

Perhaps then it is no coincidence that Sir Alven Wryhta, craftsman of the first workable unpowered glider to function without the use of helium, in the late 800's, was of Elven blood, having only a single human grandmother on his maternal side. Having grown up in the Fjords of the Southern Isles, Wrytha lived his entire life in the shadow of the traditional Migration Patterns for almost all the regions avian life forms. It was however, a specific encounter with a far more dramatic and deadly being which led to the creation of the convenient travelling methods we know today. The following excerpt from his published diaries details an encounter with a passing clan of, as you might have suspected, Wyvern, during his adolescence.

"It would be dishonest of me to suggest I felt no fear: indeed, for a brief moment that was all there was, the pinprick before the blood spills onto linen; the inevitable stain. There was no avoiding the beat of its wings, the scream that surrounded a bulk that should never have traversed the sky. Yet from so far below, moving as they did, they seemed nothing short of filigree, nothing like the bulky, cumbersome forms of the blimps. The sky shook, and moved aside to make space for them.

"I watched, and my hands shook around a bow I had drawn on instinct, and yet now could not bring myself to use. What good might it have done? This beast had claimed the sky long before us. What right had I to attempt and take it down?

"I want to know the fjords as they do." (Wrytha, p. 067, 878 AD)


From this encounter, it seems, was born a lifelong yearning, not simply for flight, but for understanding. Wrytha began his life's work. Following the plans and designs first laid down by his father for advanced arrow shafts, he conceived of a system that might function as transport, free from the dangerous alternate forms of travel available during that era.

Little was Wrytha to know , perhaps,that his actions and discoveries would revolutionise the world as he knew it.
They sometimes say, "the place where I am right now was circled on a map for me"... Unfortunately, I kind of suck at orienteering.
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