Monthly Archives: October 2011

Gearing Up One Last Time

This is it. You have less than 24 hours in which to finish planning your novel.

There are a few things left to do if you haven’t already done them. First: make sure you are signed up for NaNoWriMo. It’s really simple to do. Just go to nanowrimo.com and click sign up. Then fill out your author profile and you’ll be on your way!

Two: set up your region on NaNo as well. It’ll make is possible to go to writing events that people will be having around your area. Writing with people is always more fun than writing alone.

Finally, don’t be afraid to change everything you have planned so far, or throw it out the window. Sometimes characters have their own ideas on what they want to happen, or you come up with a brilliant idea that just HAS TO BE TOLD NOW. November is your chance to do that. Leap on that chance and make it yours.

And remember: if you need to up your word count, always always ALWAYS remember that the Traveling Shovel of Death is ready and waiting to help you kill off everyone.


Realm of the Gods Part One

In celebration of NaNoWriMo starting on Tuesday, the next Writing Serial for Fridays will be last year’s Winning NaNo.  It gives me an excuse to finally polish it up, and to read over it again before I start on the next book on November First.

So I give to you Realm of the Gods: Earth.

PROLOGUE

“Lord, Lady, I greet thee,” said the man.  Clothed in green, his shoulder length brown hair was tied up to be out of his face. It was the only thing that set him apart from the dark green of the Forest far below.

“And we greet you in return, lord Talesin,” They replied. They were in white, though Their black hair seemed to capture the starlight above and turn it into the radiance that surrounded them.  Though They had many names, they were best known as the
Lord and the Lady, or the God and Goddess.

“What willst thou have of me?” asked the lord of Music.

“You know of this world and of its people,” began the Lady. Talesin nodded.  “Then you know as well of those who would seek to destroy or enslave this place.”

“Of course.  Mages of times long past for one.”

“And those of today’s time as well,” added the Lord.

“I had heard of that, but was unaware that such rumors had a base to them.”

The two nodded in near unison.  “They are all too true.  Not long ago, one tried again.  He was struck down before he succeeded, however.”

“Blessed be the Lord and Lady,” he muttered, forgetting who he was standing before for a moment.

“Twas not our doing,” the Lady said with a smile and a shake of her head.  “Your thanks, lord of Music, go to a witch from Otherside.”

There was shock written on his face.  “From the mortal realm?”

“Yes.  But the mage she defeated was from Otherside as well.  And as much as We did not wish to do so, We have barred access to this world from Otherside.  Until those who seek to control us are gone or have forgotten our existence,” explained the Lord.

“But, that’s good,” Talesin protested.  “No more mages will attempt to control us and this world!”

“Perhaps.  But no access means those of power who would do good with it can also not reach us except for in deep meditation.  And even then, it would be but a bare shadow of this place.”

“How it must be, shall be.”

“Danger approaches, lord Talesin,” the Lady told him.  “Even now with access denied.  There is another who will attack.  The Fates have foreseen it.  And in their viewings, they have seen only one who might stop it.”

“Who, Lady?”

“One from Otherside.”

“But if the way is closed—“

“We know, Talesin,” the Lord stated sharply.

“She is already here,” She said softly, her voice in sharp contrast with that of Her consort.  “She is only a baby, but Inferno has agreed to raise her with the Fires.”

“The lord of the Fire Elementals? Begging pardon, but, Lord, Lady, I don’t really think that is the best of ideas.”

“He has promised to raise her as one of his own.  And We trust him”

Talesin looked doubtful, but allowed it to pass.   “Then we are back to the beginning.  I ask again, what willst thou have me do?” There was a large part of Talesin that rebelled against such formal speech, but he knew it was needed in situations such as these.

“When the time comes, We ask that you take the girl about the world. Take her to us here upon the Mountain so that we might meet with her.”

“How will I know, Lady, Lord?”

“You will know, Talesin.”

Talesin chewed on his lip for a moment, unsure that he would know as They said he would.  Still, if They said it, it would have to be true.  One way or another, it would happen, even if it came in the form of a letter from someone with the words “it is time” written in it.  He bowed to the God and Goddess.  “Very well.”

“Our Love go with thee, lord of Music.”

He smiled at them and bowed graciously once more before turning and exiting the room on the top of the Mountain that They called their home.  The journey down the Mountain, the highest in all of his world, was one of the easiest.  Especially when he had his Aspect of Spirit to aid him.  The Mountain was at the far end of the Fire Mountains, but the waterfall going down it belonged to Water, the clouds about its top were Air and the great oak trees at the base were maintained by Earth.  Every element owned a part of Spirit Mountain, just as everyone was a part of Spirit itself.

Talesin was one of the Gods who populated the world.  Unlike some of the others, he wandered about the world, giving help where needed and entertaining in other places.  He truly was the bard that his title, lord of Music, named him as.  Until the Lord and Lady had asked for his help, he had been quite happy spending his time in the Forest of Spirit in his small cottage by the river.  But now…Now he was going to need to move closer to Inferno’s territory: the Fire Mountains.  From there, he could keep an eye on the girl.

He didn’t trust Fire.  Their kind was so volatile, so quick to anger.  Water would have been a better choice for her.  But he knew why They hadn’t placed her there.  Water spent too much time in meditation and in dreams.  There was too great of a chance that she might go into a dream and be unable to find her way back here if she wandered into Otherside. And that wouldn’t do at all if she was supposed to be the one that was going to rescue them from Mage.

At the edge of the Forest, he found a tributary of the river that ran by his own home.  Talesin knelt down at the banks and scooped up a handful of the earth there.  Pebbles, water, sand and dirt ran through his fingers as he looked for a good place for his new home.  Finding one, he reached for his reed pipe on his side with his other hand, put it to his lips, and began playing.  He tossed the earth into the air and a lively jig echoed around him. The magic came easily and flowed in and around the stones.  Within moments, his home was before him once again.  A flourish at the end of his song anchored the cottage in place so that it would not move along with the tides of magic. There was a smile on his face as he ended the song, and he tucked the pipe back into his belt and walked inside.


Poetry Day

Emily K Proeber’s old poem “Opening the wound” is still one of my favorites. It too was also written at 1am one night. I am beginning to believe that she writes her best work at night, clearly. Enjoy!

opening the wound

The city burns
with our discontent, smoke
rising out
of our anguish, the years
of killing ourselves
softly

why should we live
with dinosaurs?
the ice age
is still coming.

maybe love
is on
the other side of the world
making
a transatlantic
pass
at me –

will you shoot me
for trying
to find it?

am I still even on
the table, anesthetized
or not? You would not
put me
to sleep, you
promised…

raccoons and
lobsters do scream when
burned alive –

your cold, dead eyes are too big
for an animal, you
are something worse –
your deadbeat heart –
I don’t want it.

maybe love
was just never meant to be
real, only
a human
invention

but

You are still
my happy thought
when I need to
fly or
save myself.

This burns best when
its tears are dried up
and abandoned, then
nothing gets hurt but

old scars

Her explanation of it can be found here: http://konfuzedwithak.deviantart.com/gallery/12465648#/d45xwnk

 

Also, it is her Birthday today as well, so happy birthday to Emily!


Gearing Up: Week Four

Plot? Check

Characters? Check

Setting? Check

Time to write? Uhhh….

This last one is going to be your most difficult as you start work on your National Novel Writing Month Novel. Things will distract you and you will get busy and you will think “I’ll just work on this tomorrow instead of today”.

Now, you can do this if you really want. But if your goal is to meet the 50,000 word “winner’s circle”, then the more days you postpone any writing at all is a day that you’re going to need to add more writing to at the end.

1667 words a day will get you to 50,000 in 30 days. Remember that. Those are your magic numbers.

So, what can you do to make sure you write?

First off, write every day. Force yourself to write if you have to, even if it’s just a few hundred words. Once the words get flowing though, don’t be surprised to find yourself writing more than what you had originally planned for in that time. It tends to happen that way a lot.

Another way is to work with other NaNoers. Word Wars is always my preferred method of getting writing done. Set a time limit and write as much as you can within that time and compare who has more at the end. It turns on our competitive streak as humans, and you would be surprised at the amount of times I have gotten something amazing from 15 minute Word Wars with Liz.

Carve out a chunk of your life to write if you have to. 5 minutes on lunch here, 10 minutes after dinner there. It doesn’t need to be all at one go and indeed, it can be even better if you don’t as it gives you time to figure out scenes in your novel.

The best think about NaNo is that is prepares you to become a writer if that is what you truly want to be. As far as I know, there will never be a deadline of 50,000 words in a month, but you might have “a novel in a year” as a deadline. And the tricks and habits picked up here of writing every day and thinking about your writing even when you are not will serve you well in years down the road.

I used last year’s NaNo as a test run for my undergraduate thesis. I knew that if I could do 50,000 in a month, I could do 20 pages in 3.

So write, write, write, whenever you can. You have a week left to plan. Best of luck!


Important Classics: A Teacher’s Viewpoint

So, I emailed one of my friends a few weeks ago who is currently studying to be a teacher. I asked him what classics were important to him, and what reasons. Here’s what classics are important and why, coming from the standpoint of a teacher.

I think the classics are very important! I also believe it’s important to bring in literature from other cultures as well as modern literature to be a true well-rounded person/reader.

As far as the classics are concerned specifically, Shakespeare is definitely my favorite!

Shakespeare wrote about psychological concepts with his characters before Freud even developed the concept. He takes a deep psychological look at his characters, writes poetically, and maintains a magnificent story line. It doesn’t get any better than that!

I just finished a course on John Steinbeck. His classics such as “The Grapes of Wrath” and “Of Mice and Men” give readers and in depth look on what migration was really like for segregated workers during this time. It helped me personally understand communism, class separation, and some of the developments that we currently have economically because of it. This isn’t something that can simply be described. Steinbeck gives us an experience through real situations.

Edgar Allan Poe, simple enjoyment! He changed the way we look at “the way things should be.” He broke the mode and gave creativity to writers. He helped writers and readers alike break from the stereotypes and dig into an imaginary world that we’ve felt but couldn’t describe. I’m wearing my “The Raven” shirt as we speak.

I’m sure I can think of some more. These are just a few of the most recent stories that I’ve reconnected with.

What other standpoints would you like to see the classics from?


Poetry Day

Today once again features the works of Miss Emily K Proeber. This is one of my favorites that she has written and I hope you enjoy it too. Her comments on it shall be at the end.

Also, if you are a poet and would like to be featured on a Poetry Day, please let me know! I’d be more than happy to share your work here on Inkblabber.

Pop Culture Love Song

I’m told to love things
in magazines, skinny
slutty size twos, clean-
shaven faces, spiked up
and satiny hair, we’ve all been
autotuned to mediocrity
with a pretty face well
frankly
I don’t give a damn

I’ll pile all your flaws, three sizes
too large
on my ramshackle heart, I’ll
bear their burden, pull them
all the way up to the top of the mount when
you crumple it, like
used wrapping paper, I’m just
another one of the whos
a face you can’t see, though
what big eyes you have, Mr. Owl
how many looks will it take
for you to see that you are my chocolaty
center, making me melt, just
give me a break, let down
your hair, your firewall, I’m no
virus, I’m your non-drowsy,
congested-stuffy head, sore
throat, cough, aching, fever
so you can get through the day medicine –
registered trademark –
guaranteed for life, full
refund, no questions asked, I
Promise.

and I can be yours for only
three easy payments of
respect, if you call me
right
now

Poet’s notes: “ha, this is ridiculous. not sure where it came from, but i kinda like it.”


Gearing Up: Week Three

You have characters.

You have setting.

….do you have a plot?

In creating your setting, I’m near positive all sorts of ideas occurred to you on what you could do with your characters in this world. Now is the time to gather up those thoughts and put them all on paper.

Perhaps you have a simple plot in which girl meets boy, they go out, they get married, the end. Or maybe there’s complexities involved, such as girl meets boy, girl kills boy, boy is now a zombie…and, well, you get the picture.

Here is where you can have fun and really begin to figure out what your story is.

There are four simple steps to creating a plot that you can follow during your NaNo month (or really, at any time).

One: Figure out your starting point. With a start point, you know how the characters meet, what is going to happen to get them together and what them getting together might entail. It’s an introduction of everyone involved and might take anywhere from a few paragraphs to a few chapters, depending on what you all have planned.

Two: What is your climax of the novel? This is your Point B if we look at step one as Point A. The characters must get here eventually. Will the climax be a nail biting magical duel or a fight between two lovers. Maybe it’s a gun fight and one of your main characters is currently in a hospital bed fighting for their life. (Aside: never be afraid to kill off your main characters if that is what the story calls for. Be a literary murderer!) This is what every one of your readers has been waiting for, so whatever it is, make sure it has been worth the build up to this moment.

Three: The Ending. I don’t mean writing the words “the end” when you have finally finished it all, but that is a fun thing to do, I’ll admit. Here is where you tie up loose ends and slowly wind your reader down from the high that they hopefully experienced during the climax. A great video explaining why this is so important in anything can be found at Penny Arcade and I highly suggest checking it out: http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/episode-07-pacing

Four: Fill in the spaces.  You have three points now: A, B and C. This is now when the fun part of plotting can happen. Sub-plots, interactions, laying of clues, everything indirectly related to the climax is now put into place along your chart of points. Give a word or two of detail at each new point. Examples can be “meets Samantha” or “learns about dragons”. This will make sure your story is paced well and that you won’t forget anything that you had planned.

Of course, like all good plans, this will likely fall apart at the first sign on battle (in this case, the second day of NaNo), so don’t be worried! You can either us this roadmap you have created here to get you back on track or just go off and let the story take you where it will!