Monday, November 30, 2009

Link-a-Day: Science and Fact Sites

Last week, I posted about sources for weird.  How about regular science and fact sites?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Coming Soon to a Blog Near You

Well, now that nano craziness is over, I can get back to focusing on the blog and regular writing.  So, what can you expect this week?

  • Monday:  Link-a-day:  Science and Fact Sites.  Some links about . . . science and fact sites that I find interesting.
  • Wednesday:  Search for Re:  Alps.  No, not the mountain range, but the breath-sucking creature from folklore.
  • Friday:  The Write Way:  dual posts.  The first being an announcement about a new feature for Write Way Fridays and the second being an article on outlining techniques.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Check Up

Well, it's Saturday, and it's a good day to look back on progress made and to set up expectations for the week to come.  And for a snippet from my nano novel, tweaked to make more sense.

Progress Made:
  • I finished NaNoWriMo Friday night. Walker#1 Novel is not finished, but I am pleased with my word count this month.
  • I've started on my website.  Right now, I have my hosting site, domain name, and a very basic layout of site.
New Goals:
  • Take a break from the actual writing of Walker#1 Novel, and start planning out the series and world in greater depth.
  • Work on a page a day of my website.
  • Get back to my regular schedule of linkaday, research, and write way posts.
Snippet from Walker#1 Novel:

"Aren't you going to offer a lady a ride?" Mehe said.

Find me one, and I'd be happy to.  But my former horse had a mind of Mehe's making, and without waiting for my response, it folded itself in place over its legs, nearly upending me in the process.  She demurely settled on the now expanded back, crossing her legs over the side.  By the time I found my seat, it rose up again.  Nearly dislodging me in the process again, while her pose hadn't shifted a muscle.

Enough was enough.

She could keep her mech . . . beast.  I'd go hide out in the House of Health until it had returned to normal and she preyed on one of her other sometimes-husbands.  I lifted my right leg over the neck of the beast, intending to slide off over shoulder and wing.  Instead, I found myself in a less than comfortable parody of her position.  The wing had locked my leg into position.  And my seat warmed, threatening sunburn in inopportune places. 

Mehe draped an arm over my shoulder and toyed with the back of my neck.  "A rather comfortable improvement, isn't it?  And roomy.  One could practically do anything atop him.  One doesn't have to be so flexible anymore."

Choosing the lesser of two evils, I swung my leg back into the proper side of the trap and sighed.  "You're going to sell me to the vampires again, aren't you?"

Mehe withdrew, rigid.  "You should know I possess more sense than that."  She plucked at my silk sleeve.  "Do you have any idea how much your garments would cost to purchase?  I'd never recoup their loss or my standing with the creditors if I let you go off to a harem in these."

Well, she could, if she did business with the greater harem holders, but none of them would have anything to do with her after her last deal.  "So I'm safe as long as I'm dressed in your purchases?"

"Rentals, not purchases."

"What's keeping you from just stripping me down beforehand?"

She scoffed.  "Men, you only have one thing on your mind.  But I am flattered you miss me so, my love."

Reassuring that:   in her mind, she connected my nudity only to intimate acts with her; it was also quite unreassuring for entirely the same reason.  But continuing to argue down this path would only lead to more equivocations of increasingly uncomfortable nature.  So there was nothing left for it but this:  I turned around in my seat, stared her in the eye, and entreated her for a straight answer for once.  "Mehe, what do you want?"

Monday, November 23, 2009

Link-a-Day: Weird Science

Last week, I posted about Tagfoot.  From that site I found Strange USA, where you can find the weird or supernatural stuff near you in America.  Just click on a state and a county, and it pops up hauntings and other unusual things available to check out. 

Since we are on the topic, how about some other sources for weird facts and weird science?
PS:   Sorry, this was posted late.  I thought I had it scheduled; turned out, I only had a draft of it on my computer.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Well I've been quiet because I've been working on another project, my web page.  I haven't written either.  So I broke my 30 days of straight writing streak.  Instead, I'm going to work on nano today, and tomorrow, and whatever other days are needed to finish it for that and I'll keep up writing on it afterwards.  But it was nice to have a break.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Day 19: 1,753

Day 19's Word Count: 1,753
Nov's Total:  45,423


  • I discovered that I still have a ways to go yet plot-wise in my novel, but I hit the mid-point plot event.  And it turned out differently than I expected.  I'll let the revision time tell me if it is better or worse than my plans.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Day 18: 2,182

Day 14's Word Count:  2,182
Nov's Total: 43,670


  • I discovered more planned chapters are merging and I'm sorta adding one.  At this rate, I don't foresee this draft being much more than 60,000 words, if that.  Which would be my shortest first draft of a novel, ever.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Critique Groups

I ran across an interesting post on BookEnds about critique groups. Interesting, because I have been thinking about joining one again. So, I thought to post about some groups I've been in, for those also on the look out. Please note, the sites listed below, except for FMWriters, are dedicated to science fiction, fantasy, and horror genres only.

The last one I had been on was Online Writing Workshop. This one isn't free, but the fees are small. The basic setup is that you critique others, and you get points. After you get four, you get to post a piece of your own. You can have three posted pieces up at once. The neatest thing is the Editor's Choice function--basically, if you are lucky, an editor will crit your story. That chance alone is worth the value of the membership fee, in my opinion. Anyway, on average, I got the quickest critiques out of this place, due to, in part, the fact that you get more points if you are the first to crit a new piece.

Before OWW, I was member of a crit group at Forward Motion Writers's Community. I've actually been in several crit groups there, throughout the years. The great thing about that site is, you can create your own group or join a specific one that has openings. If you make your own group, you can also make up your own rules, but in general, they the groups rely on crit for crit--meaning, everyone critiques everyone in the group. This site was the best option for having people stick with you throughout your novel, instead of giving you feedback on just a chapter or two.

Before that, I started out with Critters. The way it works is somewhat like OWW. If I remember correctly, you have to keep your crit percent up--basically, one crit a week--in order to have a piece posted. However, unlike OWW, your piece enters a queue instead of being posted instantly. The best thing about Critters is the Dedicated Reader function, where you can get people willing to read your entire novel and critique it. Out of all three crit groups I mentioned, I got the most feed back out of this one place. It was also the least "cliquey".

Overall, all of them had their attractions and drawbacks, but I enjoyed my experiences with them all and learned a lot. But however, right now, I am more interested in finding a very small group (3 to 4 people) that operate more like crit buddies. That I have the least experience with.

Day 17: 1,911

Day 17's Word Count: 1,911
Nov's Total:  41,488


  • I discovered that I am under the 10k mark!  Only 8,512 words left to go.
  • That three of my "chapters" worked better combined, as two scenes.  That's a first this month.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Day 16: 1,899

Day 16's Word Count: 1,899
Nov's Total:  39,577


  • I discovered I have about 13 chapters left to write in the novel, and I have 10,423 words left to write.  So, once my 10k words are done, I'd like to try my own marathon in November.  No, not to write all 13 chapters.  Rather to write every day of November, no matter how little it is.  And a secondary goal in December to finish the draft.
  • That due to overtime this week at work, for the next couple days, my plans are shot all to hell, both for my word count and my blog.  So I may start updating my nano-count at night instead of in the morning, so I have more time to do things in the morning.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Link-a-Day: Bookmarks

Last week, while looking for more demographic generators, I ran across this site which I posted about.  It was included on a list of demographics at the site called Tagfoot

According to their help page, Tagfoot is "social bookmarking on steroids".  Basically, it's one giant link page that was created not by one person, but an entire community.  The site is full of interesting tools, research, and art that is bound to spark an idea or two for a writer's use. 


Day 15: 4,219

Day 15's Word Count: 4,219
Nov's Total:  37,678


  • I discovered that I have 12,322 words left to write. Yeah!
  • That despite my new technique of growing the outline into actual novel content, I still have plenty of room for surprises to occur. Such as when, my character Walker was sure danger was going to happen.  He was supposed to warn the party-goers of an attack "happening right now" and then have it be too late, it was already happening.  Instead, I decided, he warns the party-goers, nothing happens, they toss him out, then just when his confidence is at an all time low, the attack occurs.  It was unexpected, and fun to write.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Day 14: 3,451

Day 14's Word Count: 3,451
Nov's Total:  33,459


  • I discovered that if I do 2,400 words a day on average, I can finish this in one week.  That's not so bad, only mildly insane.
  • That I finally have my novel outlined and I like what I got.  :-)  :-)
  • That Nano is worth it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Day 13: 2,091

Day 13's Word Count: 2,091
Nov's Total:  30,008


  • I discovered that while the getting the words have been tough, I will have something ok to work from for the next draft.  That surprised me.
  • That my outline is going better than I thought.  It will need some tweaking, but I am past the first and second high points.  Just need to finish up the third.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Day 12: 1,824

Day 12's Word Count: 1,824
Nov's Total:  27,917

  • I discovered . . . er . . . uhm . . . not much?  Maybe next time.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Day 11: 1,742

Day 11's Word Count: 1,742
Nov's Total:  26,093

  • I discovered that as I work on my outline, I come across things like, one of my family-business heirs has to be married by a certain date.  It makes me ask why and by gum, I actually have time to figure it out and see how it affects the rest of the world; that works much better for me than plunging on full-speed ahead into uncharted waters.
  • That it's really hard to write with company about.  So much for my 3k word goal.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 10: 2,293

Day 10's Word Count: 2,293
Nov's Total:  24,349

  • I discovered my weakest point is still the plotting after the high point number one.
  • That this novel is chock-full of revelations.  
    • Couriers are going to be outed--well, definitely Walker will be, and the fact that couriers exist will be as well.  
    • Someone from Walker's past is part of their own secret organization affecting society.  Well, the revelation is more that they exist and are doing things, not the full extent of their powers and motives.
    • Walker is going to discover another person who knew him, briefly, from before his memory was wiped.  Walker is not pleased with this at all :-)
    • Finally, I plan on Walker revealing why he was visiting in the House of Healing (to the characters in the book) and whom that person is (to the readers).
  • That my characters need therapy.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 9: 1,852

Day 9's Word Count: 1,852
Nov's Total: ~22,056

  • I discovered that this novel is trying to turn partly into a mystery on me.  Not sure I wanna let it.  Mysteries and I don't get along well.
  • That I'm going to try a new technique for getting my words.  I said my chapters were resembling outlines more than real chapters or that I'd have to pretend they were, in order to edit?  Well, why not see how hard it is to build a novel up from a literal outline.  Summarize the rest of the novel in 2,000 words today.  Next day, flesh it out with 2,000 more until I get to the point I'm focusing on individual scenes and adding dialogue, scene setting, etc.  Hmm, it's worth a shot anyway.  That's what nano is for:  exploration.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Link-a-Day: Demographics

Last week, my post was on story or idea prompts. One of the links was a story idea generator on the Seventh Sanctum site. On that site, they had a forum with a thread about a useful site and I hoped they would list one I used to love to play with.

They did.

Enter in a few criteria, and it pops out not only what medieval population is sustainable on those conditions, but what type and number of occupations your population can support. Nifty, huh?

If you like that one, you might like the Medieval Kingdom Generator too.

Day 7 & 8: 3,992

Day 7's Word Count: 1,786 
Day 8's Word Count: 2,206
Nov's Total: ~20,198

  •  I discovered that even with a better plan on where I'm heading, I have to go fairly slow to try to write something that makes sense. I'm going to have to find a better technique for getting 1,667 words a day and having those words be of good quality.
  • That I'm going to have a hell of a time with edits anyway.  They are going to give me a headache unless I treat this as a really long outline.
  • That I still didn't get a snippet out, due to time and inability to find anything of readable quality.  At times, my writing is pure dialogue with a few other lines thrown in.  It takes too long to make that ship shape for posting.  Hopefully this week.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 6: 1,697

Day 6's Word Count:  1,697
Nov's Total:  ~16,205

  • I discovered my middle turning point after I did some summary writing last night.  It surprised me.  I mean, I knew it was going to happen, but I never planned on it being in this novel.  I guess I always pictured it more as a thing that happened between novels.
  • That when I got to thinking about The Spirit, thanks to the last post, I realized other influences it was having on my work.  I didn't originally plan on Walker having a big affect on women--just this one family.  See, Walker is supposed to gain an useless ability, well, mostly useless one that can get him trouble or help him out of an odd jam in an odd fashion.  Having a Don Juan effect over women around him fits the bill.  Not necessarily a romantic-only effect.  No, just having an unnatural halo effect on women would work.  And it would fit nicely with some other dangling plot thread, too boot.  Now all that is left is to see how hard or easy it is to pull off :-)
  • That, thanks to some company and a major sinus/allergy headache, I barely got my words and a summary written.  So, oops.  No snippet.  I'll do my best to get it up this weekend.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day 5: 1,860

Day 5's Word Count:  1,860
Nov's Total:  ~14,505

  • I discovered another neat character, inspired by Plaster of Paris from the movie, The Spirit.  You see, I get characters and things knocking around in my head without a proper home.  It seems like this series is hoovering them up the way my dog hoovers up his food.  So once I really got the connection, I remembered a scene I wanted this homeless character in, and now I have to leave a note to myself to revise something: the first scene where my PoP inspired guy (Grips) meets Walker.
  • That the original guy who was going to be the escort (not Grips mentioned above) is now going to have to wait his turn to arrive.  He's related to Walker's forgotten past and is currently MIA.  I'm thinking his movement from MIA to IA may be what prompts memories to come back to Walker, because these two characters are connected like none other.
  • That sometimes you wish you could don a pseudonym.  What I'm writing in this novel and next is a little embarrassing at some instances and little taboo at others.  I am pushing the envelope on my comfortable levels, and that would be fine if it were just me an anonymous audience looking on my work.  If my family and friends, however, were to read it or another novel of mine . . . . I don't look forward to their reaction, no.
  • That once you change something about your characters, previous plotting goes out the window.  Hopefully in a good way.
  • That I forgot to prepare for my snippet today.  So it will be belated, I'm afraid, as I try to find something worthy of snipping.  Like I said, my writing is not pleasing my internal editor this month.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 4: ~1,701

Day 4's Word Count:  ~ 1,701
Nov's Total:  ~10,645

  • I discovered that my original goal of 80k words this month wasn't going to work out.  So I've changed it to 50k.  This way, I have more time to plot and plan everyday too.
  • That part of my plotting and forward movement problem is Walker is a pushover in the first 10k.  It's cute in a few scenes, but afterwards, he needs to get some gumption going on.  Once I decided that, I decided that a key event that needed to be at the 25k mark, doesn't have to be.  And out of the blue, a new idea came to me that caused me to lol, which means I am on track again.
  • That I want a fourth novel idea that is a marriage of the Walker universe and a completely different novel idea.  You see, Walker gets a certain special horse in novel two.  That horse kept ending up resembling my fae mount in another novel I was working on.  So I quit fighting it, and now, not only is it the same species, it's the same horse--with the same rider/MC.  And surprisingly, it works out better that way, I think.
Eh, not many discoveries, but they were good ones.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 3: ~2,986

Day 3's Word Count:  ~ 2,986
Nov's Total:  ~10,947

  • I found out that I may have a dreaded trilogy on my hands.  Let's see if I can't make it a quartet instead.  I like my even numbers, yes I do.
  • That the plotting is getting harder:
    • because turning point number one has to happen at 25k words into the novel to make the novel balanced in length.  The problem?  Since I haven't had time to do an outline, I have to try to fill out the area between only about a day before I write, and I'm not satisfied with what I'm finding coming up with so far.
    • because of trying to write fast-paced and unexpected, like my inspiration, the Transformers movies and Harry Dresden books.  But after my first real action scene, I'm not sure if I'm cut out to write action thrillers.  Not sure this novel is cut out to be one either.
  • That if I get 50k early, I am going to slow down and instead of focusing on writing 80k rushed words, I am going to have 50k honed words.  That appeases the muse and inner editor.
  • Finally, that my "hungry ka" idea-based enemies (instead of zombies) need a make-over.  While the twist that they are devastatingly beautiful is neat, they also need to be devastating.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 2: 2,838

I don't think my little progress graph is working, at least not on this computer, but here it is from the nano site itself:

Day 2's Word Count:  ~ 2,838
Nov's Total:  ~7,966

  • It's hard to plan just a day ahead.
  • That the words are coming harder, a sign that my inner editor is not as satisfied editorially with my work as we were on Saturday.  But I'm going to take Edittorrent's suggestion, and trust myself to fix it later.
  • I must be on a self-imposed challenge to see in how many chapters I can get Walker, my MC, nude.  Let's see now:  
    • In the first scene, he's just stepping out of the purification pool when his sometimes-wife arrives to abduct him.
    • In a later scene, his sometimes-wife has him strip so she can make him courier something.  (See my previous, linked blog post to know what "courier" means exactly.)  He also wakes up naked in bed afterwards, along with her.
    • Later, he is told to strip and stand for investigation, at the border of his world and another, on the suspicion he's been infected by the plague.
Well, that's it.  Happy writing everyone.  I survived Day 2!  Let's see about Day 3!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Link-a-Day: Prompts

Last week, I delved into word origins for research and inspiration.  How about another type of inspiration?  Prompts.

These can be words, scenarios, or pictures that are meant as warm-ups, to get your creative energy flowing.  But more importantly, there is no weight attached to them.  Just as warm-ups for your body won't get you fit, writing exercises won't get you published, but they do get you ready for the real deal.

Here are a few more resources, from other prompt sites to places where you can find or make your own: 

Day 1: ~5000 wc

I survived day one, even after doing research for half the morning.  Egyptian research, the inspiration on which I am building my culture.

Wordcount:  ~5,000 words, but that sounds a little high.  But it's all on my laptop, so I can't verify.

  • That I'm slowly getting a handle on Walker's voice (he has a sense of humor that reminds me of Six in my novel Lab).
  • That the research overtime was worth it.  Egyptian culture works really well for this story, what with their religious beliefs on different aspects of the soul. Oh, and also that now that I started writing the novel, I don't seem to have enough reference books?  Never mind I have about six or seven books that cover Egyptians exclusively or at least extensively, and Wikipedia and other sites a click away . . . .
  • That I can handle writing prominent females so far, as long as they aren't my view point character.  Case in point, the minx that sold her "husband" Walker to a vampire harem (back in the nebulous character history).  And her daughter.  Heck, I better be able to handle it, seeing as how most people in this novel from the thaumaturge to the Walker's supervisor/mentor are of the female persuasion.  The only other principal character that isn't, is an escort, and my intentions are to make that guy make the minx look good.
  • That Walker's having fun (well, more people are having fun at his expense); the novel's having fun; I'm having fun :), despite this idea being thrown together and apart, like a tossed salad, at the last moment.
Well, that's it so far.  More when I get home and write.