All posts tagged NaNoWriMo

IWSG – It’s almost April…

Published March 7, 2018 by Iphis of Scyros

…and that means Camp.

Not camp like “cheesy, over-the-top” but camp like CampNaNo.  (But you knew that.)

Actually, I’ve never done the April session of CampNaNo before, just the July session.  But I’m not taking a class this semester, not doing April A-to-Z (or maybe I should, just to try and jumpstart my pathetic blog), so there’s no reason not to.  Plus I haven’t been very motivated lately (getting addicted to a couple of video games in a row has definitely not helped, of course), so I’m hoping this will get me back into a good writing habit again.

I’ll be re-working my NaNo novel from this November, which is a first:  I’ve never done a rewrite as a NaNo project.  I’m also doing a first for me and have set my goal as 30 hours instead of a number of words.  I generally get about half an hour’s writing time before I leave for work in the morning…though I don’t always use it to write.  In fact, lately I’ve loaded up my current project (essentially an RPG in fiction form), written about two sentences (if even that much), and then opened a file of one of my past projects that needs editing.  Not that I actually edited the past projects when I opened them; I just read over bits I liked and made mental notes about the parts that needed fixing.  (Yeah, not the least bit productive, I know.  That’s part of my worry.)

Of course, I have new worries about doing this revision for camp.  Like, for starters, I haven’t even opened the file since early December.

I should probably read it over before April gets here.  Especially since the idea is to start out by writing the long dead guy’s journal in order to use it as chapter-openers throughout the book.  I need to remember what he was writing about before I can actually write it.  And refreshing my memory about the world I created would probably be a good idea, too.  (I mean, I could look at my notes file, but it’s a freakin’ mess, so I’m not sure that would actually be helpful.)

Part of me thinks I should see if anyone in my Cabin (once I’m in a Cabin, anyhow) wants to look over my first draft and see if they have any suggestions, and the rest of me thinks that wouldn’t be at all fair to them (I know it’s a convoluted mess with ghastly pacing and a tendency to take back doors to avoid anything actually, you know, happening) and might serve no function but to make them hate me.

….so, I just re-read my IWSG post from December, where I was talking about NaNo, and there was a lot there I’d already forgotten.  Am I getting senile in my early 40s?  That’s a terrifying thought…but either way, at least I have that post to help me remember what I wanted to do in the re-write.

But I think I definitely need to re-read the original draft before April 1st.  I guess, since my current project isn’t grabbing me, I’ll set it aside for now and use my mornings before work to re-read my NaNo novel and get some planning done about how I want to proceed through April…

…and maybe make some plans to do April A-to-Z after all…


IWSG – This year’s NaNo

Published December 6, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

As I said last month, this year’s NaNo project started out as an AU (alternate universe, for those not acquainted with fanfic terms) fanfic of my favorite movie, Velvet Goldmine.  But this wasn’t going to be one of those “serial numbers just barely filed off” projects; I did so little planning before it became an original project that almost nothing about it ever had a connection to the movie.  (The movie’s main three male characters were imported, but none of them have much connection to the originals.  Cal is the most like his inspiration, Curt Wild, but even he has a lot of differences, given his knowledge of steam-powered airship design, affinity with giant birds of prey and his tragic first love, who is the person he loved most in the world, and who was always totally original.  Except that he kind of looks like Ichabod Crane.  (From the Disney animated version.)  I’m not sure why he looks like that.  It just sort of happened.)

So, my reflections on finishing the project:  first and foremost, it’s a mess.  The point of this first book (in a series of eight, as currently planned) was to get them to learn about the MacGuffin (it doesn’t have a name yet) and get their hands on the book of clues as to where to find the pieces of it.  Well, okay, that’s not the whole point, but that’s its role in the bigger story.  So part of the process of finding out about it was to find the journal of the dead fiance of one of the main characters.  He had been researching the MacGuffin (and was killed over it), and had in turn learned a lot of his information from the journal of a man who lived a thousand years earlier.  (Very sturdy paper!)  So I kind of had this huge info dump as one of the characters was reading the dead fiance’s journal.  I mean, I broke it up over a few days, with other things happening in between, but…not good storytelling.  I’m thinking that my first task in a re-write will be to write the entire journal of the man from a thousand years earlier, divide it up into neat little chunks, and stick them at the beginning of each chapter.

But that’s barely scratching the surface of what needs to be done.

Read the rest of this entry →

Missing Letter Monday No “V” – Another Author’s Oracle Tag

Published October 30, 2017 by Iphis of Scyros

So, in trying to decide what to post for my last Missing Letter Monday until December (yeah, it’s going away for NaNo), I looked through to see what I’d done in the past with this letter, and found this post with a series of questions for an author to answer about their current WIP.  And I decided that hey, I could just answer the questions again, only this time for the project I’m going to work on next month.  These questions were initially encountered on Sara Letourneau’s blog, in an open-ended “consider yourself tagged if you’re reading this” kind of thing.  So I guess that means I’m re-self-tagging?

Er….anyway…on to the questions, though (as before) I used some * in the questions when this week’s forbidden letter came up.

The Author’s Oracle Questions

The answers this time are going to be NaNo prep, for next month’s project, which I am planning as the first in a series.  (Who knows what I’ll actually end up writing, but…)  I keep putting off filling out the cool character sheet I found on the NaNo forums, so maybe this will help me with that.  It’s a genre-ignoring project with elements of the fantastic, elements of steampunk, and an LGBT romance.  And giant eagles.  Because all things are better with giant eagles.

0. The Fool: Which of your characters is the most intuiti*e?  The worst decision-maker?

The best decision-maker would be Ouden, the 12 year old girl on the crew of the airship.  She considers herself the one who keeps Cal, the captain, from dying all the time, and she’s pretty much right about that.  As to the worst…hmm.  That’s a tie between Cal and Elliot (the romantic leads), but for different reasons.  Cal is extremely passionate, and short-tempered.  He acts on impulse, but he’s also slow to trust, so he’ll do dumb things because he doesn’t trust someone yet, only then once he does trust them, he’d bend the fabric of reality if he could for someone important to him.  He was hurt horribly not too long before the book starts, so he’s become more slow to trust than before.  Elliot, on the other hand, is the ultimate naïf.  I mean, the guy took a madam’s word for it that she was just sheltering him out of the goodness of her heart, and had no idea she was charging the men who were also just taking shelter in the same room with him and who just happened to want to sleep with him.  (In his defense, he is quite young (about nineteen) and recently ran away from his sheltered home on the family farm.)

I. The Magician: What character, location, or object has the most positi*e influence in your story?

(OMG, I skipped this one last time!)  Probably Cal’s airship, the Audacity.  The cast would be utterly lost without it.  Although Cal wouldn’t be hunted without it, so maybe it’s not all good. Read the rest of this entry →

Missing Letter Monday – Repeat (11/30)

Published November 28, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

The Spirit of November

The Spirit of November is relentless.
He bellows for his dinner.
“Words!” he cries.
“More words!
“Give me 1,667 words for dinner!
“Give me 1,667 words tomorrow, too!
“Give me nothing less!
“Or else you suffer!”

Countless numbers write, write, write on,
To indulge his hunger.
Never enough.
It’s never enough.

I write.  I write.  I write on.
It’s never good enough.
He returns it with disgust:
“Better words!” he insists.
“Give me better words!
“Or else you suffer!”

I tell him those are the best I possess.

But he’s furious none the less,
Sending me to the dungeons
Of lousy-writer misery.

The Spirit of November [(c) Nintendo]

The Spirit of November, The Novel Writing Month [(c) Nintendo]

MLM icon init MLM A

How else would the spirit of November look, right?

(First posted: 11/30/15.  Serendipitous timing for both of this forbidden letter’s posts to come in November.)

Missing Letter Mondays – No “W”

Published October 31, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

One Day to NaNo

It’s one day to NaNo!
(I can’t say the full name.  Not today.)
It’s one day to NaNo:
Happy All Saint’s Day Eve!
(I can’t use the regular version.  Not today.)

Are you gonna do NaNo, too?
Plotter or pantser?
I’m a planster, myself.
I plan some,
And fly the rest by the seat of my pants.
Or the seat of my pajamas.
(I often type in bed.)

I keep trying to dedicate novels
— Or other bits of fiction —
To things I’m clueless about.

I need to stop doing that.

(So I say, but this year’s is no different.
A rock star discovers he’s got a seven year old son
He never heard about before,
And then his boyfriend the reporter gets offered a better job,
In distant London (in his native land)
And the fledgling family moves across the sea.
And later still, they have another kid,
So the reporter can pass on his genes, too.
Because NaNo.  I guess.)

Rambled long enough,
I guess.

(Yeah, my fiction’s like this, too.)

MLM icon init MLM W

IWSG – July CampNaNo

Published July 6, 2016 by Iphis of Scyros

I’m not sure if it was a good decision or a bad decision, but I think it was the only decision I could make.

I’m doing July’s session of CampNaNo.

Okay, that part is a good decision.  No question of that.

But the part I’m still not sure about is that I’m writing fanfic.  It’s the first fanfic I’ve written since…January of…2013? 2014?  Well, one of those two.  It was definitely in a January that I last touched fanfic.

I guess, looking at it that way, it doesn’t sound like a long time.  And compared to the twentyish years I spent writing fanfic (exclusively for more than ten of those years) it really isn’t all that long a time.  But I’d been proud of myself for getting away from fanfic and only writing original stuff.  (Even though much of my “original” material wasn’t really all that original, being based heavily — or entirely — on Greek mythology.)

So why am I doing something I said I wouldn’t do again?

I feel like I didn’t have a choice.  I mean, it’s been taking over my brain, so maybe if I write it all out, it’ll let go, and I can get back to the WIP that was already in progress.  Right?

Read the rest of this entry →

IWSG – NaNo Failure

Published December 2, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

For the first time, I’ve failed NaNo.

In the future, anyone who chances upon my profile will see four wins followed by a loss.  They might think something like “Oh, what a shame she messed up after so many successes!”

Of course, if they click further and look at the stats for the failed novel, then they’ll probably ask themselves “Why in the name of sanity didn’t she validate her novel if she had 87,474 words?!”

Well, the obvious answer is that to me, the goal of NaNo isn’t to write 50,000 words.  To me, the goal is to write a complete novel.

And I didn’t do that.

Read the rest of this entry →

Missing Letter Monday – No “A”

Published November 30, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

The Spirit of November

The Spirit of November is relentless.
He bellows for his dinner.
“Words!” he cries.
“More words!
“Give me 1,667 words for dinner!
“Give me 1,667 words tomorrow, too!
“Give me nothing less!
“Or else you suffer!”

Countless numbers write, write, write on,
To indulge his hunger.
Never enough.
It’s never enough.

I write.  I write.  I write on.
It’s never good enough.
He returns it with disgust:
“Better words!” he insists.
“Give me better words!
“Or else you suffer!”

I tell him those are the best I possess.

But he’s furious none the less,
Sending me to the dungeons
Of lousy-writer misery.

The Spirit of November [(c) Nintendo]

The Spirit of November,
The Novel Writing Month
[(c) Nintendo]

MLM icon init MLM A

How else would the spirit of November look, right?


A ludicrous number of references in a short span of time

Published November 26, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

Well, okay, it’s a ludicrous number of references compared to my usual fiction, which tends to be either fantasy or set in the Greek heroic period; in both cases, my ability to reference modern culture is between limited and impossible.  I’d had references at various places earlier in this year’s NaNo novel, but never to this extreme before.  The character introductions from the Missing Letter Monday excerpt and yesterday’s excerpt will be needed to understand who the characters are.  Oh, and you need to know that Frank, the pilot, was just returned to them, but due to the odd effects of the air on this island, because he couldn’t be healed in the first week, it will take years for his wounds to heal.  (I know, that makes no sense out of context.  But it does make at least semi-sense once it’s fully explained.  Not that the characters have learned that explanation yet.  They may not even learn the explanation before November ends; it’s the 19th today, and they’re nowhere near learning it.)  The “stack” in Caesar’s hands is a stack of items that Mel brought when she was accompanying the return of Frank, but there was a bit of a quarrel and she left without explaining what they were.  They’re flat, thin, rectangular objects about the size of the front cover of a book from the Loeb Classical Library.  (But less colorful.  I didn’t specify their colors, but they’re either white, black or gray.  Something very dull.  No green or red here.)

Oh…Aiko hasn’t come up in the other excerpts, has she?  She’s the AI in the computer that runs pretty much everything on the island.  (Hence her name “Artificial Intelligence Child”, using the kanji “ko” for “child” while also giving her a genuine Japanese name.  It works so neatly that I must have actually encountered it somewhere else and forgotten about it:  no way I could come up with something that slick on my own.)  She’s only discussed in this excerpt, but I’ll go ahead and quote the description when Ashley first encounters her (while his shoulder still hasn’t healed up yet):

Forcing himself to his feet, Ashley decided he was going to inspect that picture. It was definitely odd somehow. Lurching from one piece of furniture to the next, Ashley made his way over to the wall, leaning his good shoulder against it for support. By the time he got there, the image had changed to a view of the island, this time from directly above, giving a good view of the sealed caldera of the volcano in the center.

“What the **** is going on with this picture?!” he demanded. The frame was nothing special, just a thin, flimsy-looking black frame, without any kind of ornamentation.

“It’s on screen-saver, of course,” a girl’s voice replied, seeming to come from the picture itself. It sounded like the one that Mel had been talking to earlier.

“What the…!!” Ashley tried to step away from the wall, and ended up on the floor.

The girl’s voice laughed at him, and the image of the island faded away to show a girl of about eight years, in a plaid dress with frilly lace around the edges. The girl had very European facial features, pale skin and blue eyes, but long, lustrous, straight black hair, the type that Ashley associated with Asians. From the lacy ribbon in her hair down to her black-and-white striped socks and her platform Mary Janes, there was something about her that just felt off. She was standing against a pure white background — so pure white that Ashley couldn’t tell where the floor ended and the walls started.

“Who are you?” Ashley asked.

“I’m Aiko, of course,” the girl answered, her head tilting to one side. Above her head appeared the letters ‘AI’ followed by a Chinese or Japanese letter. “Who are you? And why are you on the floor?”

“I’m Ashley, and I’m down here ‘cause you scared the **** out of me.”

“You shouldn’t swear like that,” Aiko reprimanded him. “It’s rude.”

Aiko is totally voiced by a Vocaloid, btw.  Probably MAYU.  (Which tells you a lot, if you happen to be familiar with Vocaloid, but next to nothing otherwise.)  Thought I should mention that because it means her speech feels a little awkward and unnatural, but the men hearing it don’t know why, and can’t quite even put their finger on what’s wrong with it.  (I think that’s not mentioned until Paddy comes to hear her, or the similarly Vocaloid-voiced menu when he calls the kitchen to order dinner.  Uh, not that it would literally be Vocaloid in the far future.  Just something like Vocaloid.  (I guess that makes them UTAU, lol.)  But so I hear Vocaloid speech when I’m writing the dialog of the artificial characters.  The menu, btw, got KAITO’s voice.  Lucky menu!))

As in the previous excerpts, I haven’t edited this apart from self-censoring the hard swearing, and maybe correcting a few words with squiggly lines under them in the composition window.  (Though sometimes words have squiggly lines because they’re dialect, or at least just conversational, and sometimes they’re proper nouns from books I haven’t read so I’m not sure what the right spelling is.  *ahem*  I’m a bit ashamed of that…)

Warning:  this is a pretty long excerpt, and the good stuff is towards the end.  But…well, actually, I like all of it.  (For once, I was actually forced to — gasp! — describe things!  Not that I’m very good at it…)  Oh, we’re in Paddy’s head this time, so it always says “Ashe” instead of “Ashley.” Read the rest of this entry →

The oldest NaNo quote ever?

Published November 25, 2015 by Iphis of Scyros

It’s not quite a Words Crush Wednesday quote, but I wanted to share another bit from my NaNoWriMo novel.  (This post, btw, is being pre-written on the 12th.)  Within this fairly lengthy snippet (it could have been a lot shorter, but these felt like the ideal starting and stopping places) one of my characters quotes something published in 17 BC.  (Untranslated, mind you.)  If I had time for the NaNo forums, I would totally go ask there if anyone has ever put older words in their NaNo novel.  (Probably a few have, but I would think that most things that old being quoted are in translation only, y’know?)

I think the only thing to be set up — beyond everything in Monday’s excerpt — is that Ricki is a teenage girl from the mid-1980s.  (Or possibly late 1980s.  I tend to go on my memories of the era in describing her outfits, so my initial thought that she would come from 1986-7 may be wrong.  She may be from more like 1989.)  The soldiers are being held in a quarantine zone, and earlier Ricki brought them their vaccinations, which Sergeant-Major Fleischer refused to take…until Caesar injected him with it anyway (fancy futuristic replacement for a syringe that’s a lot less complicated to use) which made Fleischer so exceedingly angry (and violent) that Ashley punched him out to make him shut up.  (Though Ashley hadn’t actually expected him to go down in one punch…)  Oh, one more thing about Ricki.  Caesar and Timmy are both interested in her — especially Caesar — but so far she has mostly spent her on-page time flirting with Ashley, despite that he’s extremely not interested.

Actually, you know what, let me quote part of Ricki’s first appearance before I move on with the main excerpt:

Now that Ashley could see her up close, she seemed to be about sixteen or seventeen, and her ‘dress’ was actually a very long neon pink T-shirt that extended down a bit past her hips, worn over a pair of opaque tights with a pocket watch pattern in loud colors that clashed with her shirt atrociously. Her hair was mostly blond, except for about half an inch or so of brown at the roots. Her bangs were teased up in the most appallingly unappealing manner.

I had a pair of tights like that, btw.  It was watches and ribbons on a nebula-like starfield pattern.  Actually a really cool pattern; I wish I’d kept them.  I wore them with a huge black sweater, rather than a long pink T-shirt, but this is a tropical island, so a sweater would be too hot.  Bizarrely, I’ve yet to discuss her partially grown-out bleach job.  I meant for Ashley to make a (thoughtlessly rude) comment about it early on, but somehow it hasn’t happened yet.

Also, I should probably explain that they were given a fenced in region containing bungalows for them to live in while on the island.  (The fence being locked while they’re in quarantine, naturally.)  There were enough bungalows for every man to have his own (including an empty one for the pilot once he recovered) but one of them had been trashed inside by a six foot tall boar (seriously; you’ll learn more tomorrow) so Ashley volunteered to share with Paddy.  They first met Ricki when they snuck out on the second night, at which time it was explained to them by her and by Mel that they were being quarantined until such a time that the robotic patrols would no longer view them as interlopers and cut them to ribbons.  (There’s more to it than that, but that’s the gist of it.)  They don’t like it,  but since it’s only for a week, they’re just putting up with it.  Besides, they’re cushy places, with absolutely any food they want delivered straight to their doors, for free, at any time of the day or night.  Though because of something Ricki said, they’re abstaining from meat, just in case.

As with the previous excerpt, this has not been edited, apart from removing the hard swearing, and correcting any words I notice having a red squiggly line under them.  (But I may well have missed some, so please don’t pay too much attention to my spelling, okay?)  Oh, we’re in Ashley’s POV again, btw.  (So far, I’ve just been bouncing back and forth between his and Paddy’s POVs.  Shortly I’ll also add Ricki as a POV character, for some variety.  And to get out of sweaty male minds…) Read the rest of this entry →

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