Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

User avatar
Sstavix
CCGR addict
Posts: 2915
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:47 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: Idaho!

Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby Sstavix » Wed Oct 08, 2014 7:56 pm

It seems to have come up in a few threads, but for those interested in participating in National Novel Writing Month, let's talk about it here!

What is National Novel Writing Month, you might ask? It's a challenge to churn out 50,000 words during the month of November. Some people shoot for a larger goal (most publishers won't even consider your works unless it's 60-80,000 words), but 50,000 is a perfectly reasonable goal for those who are just getting their feet wet and want to experience the challenge of coming up with a cohesive novel in a short period of time. If you want to know more - or sign up - just click here.

In any case, this year I think I'm going to delve back into the realm of sci-fi, and add a touch of horror. While hearing some of my coworkers talking about "The Walking Dead" - a series I have little motivation to watch, since I don't go for zombie things - it got me wondering... what happens after the zombie apocalypse? There are no more survivors in the world, and nothing but death and decay as far as the unseeing eye can see. Once everything is dead and there is no chance of it coming back... what happens next?

I've got a very brief plot synopsis in my head as to lay this all out (it's going to be in three "acts") but I want to work on creating some character profiles before November 1. I find that I sometimes have a problem with keeping my characters consistent, so I think having a brief bio and character traits - and maybe even going as far as to design the characters in DAZ Studio so I have pictures of them - might help me make more solid protagonists. But that's my gameplan, in a nutshell.

If you have any ideas, questions or suggestions, feel free to post them here! And keep an eye on the calendar... November will be here before you know it!

User avatar
ArchAngel
CCGR addict
Posts: 3547
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 12:00 am
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby ArchAngel » Wed Oct 08, 2014 8:14 pm

I have a couple ideas for this year, but I might end up just going with what I wanted to do last year.

Pre-November, I'd like to get a good amount of work done using the Snowflake Method.
Maybe not for everyone, but it appeals to me.

Also, post links to your NaNoWriMo profiles. I know I'm already friends with Sstavix and Deep.
Here's mine.
Pew Pew Pew. Science.

RoA: Kratimos/Lycan
UnHuman: Tim

User avatar
Deepfreeze32
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 7043
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 12:00 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: On the run from Johnny Law; ain't no trip to Cleveland

Re: Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby Deepfreeze32 » Wed Oct 08, 2014 11:10 pm

I've already described my idea to Arch, but I'm thinking a Historical Fiction novel set before and during the outbreak of World War I. I want to have various POV characters (Think A Song of Ice and Fire here) who may not be directly involved with the action, but touch the central narrative of the war in some way.

Characters I've come up with so far range from servants, soldiers, and everyday citizens. I might even do a few POV snippets from a real person's perspective, if I ever work up the courage to try. I sincerely doubt I'll finish the whole war in a month, so I'm currently trying to decide where I should shoot to end. I'm leaning towards ending in 1915/16, possibly with the Battle of the Somme, then maybe working on my own time after to finish the war. Maybe if I'm lucky some publisher will like it, and I'll feel inspired to write more. :P


On a related note, what tools are you guys using? I'm falling back on my staple: Scrivener. Scrivener is a fantastic writing tool. I only own the Mac version, so I may end up buying the PC version so I can work cross-platform. Also, they have a special offer for NaNoWriMo participants!

I also intend to use the Notes app on my iPhone for the occasional spark of inspiration while I'm at work or away from my computer. And possibly BitBucket to keep it all under some form of backup and cloud storage (Yes...I'm that guy).

User avatar
Orodrist
CCGR addict
Posts: 7836
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:38 pm
Location: Surrounded by blood and bathed in fire on a frozen lake

Re: Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby Orodrist » Thu Oct 09, 2014 2:37 am

I have something roughly coherent this time around. The death of the era of rock and roll, maybe told through the story of a relationship. Or something like that. This is why I never finish Nano. I just get wasted, yell for valhalla and charge in blind.
I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do - Robert A Heinlein

Courage ~ Discipline ~ Fidelity ~ Honor ~ Hospitality ~ Industriousness ~ Perseverance ~ Self Reliance ~

User avatar
Sstavix
CCGR addict
Posts: 2915
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:47 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: Idaho!

Re: Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby Sstavix » Thu Oct 09, 2014 6:31 am

My profile is here, for those interested. I need to update it - for some weird reason, it lost my word counts for the first three years I did it, so it only has me listed as a participant, not a winner.
I just get wasted, yell for valhalla and charge in blind.
I fail to see the problem with that approach. ;)

And Broamir, that snowflake method does look interesting! At least until I got to the part about the spreadsheet. Then my thought was "if I'm going to spend time creating a spreadsheet to detail what happens in a scene, why not actually write the scene?" Then again, I tend to work in a more linear fashion, rather than the modular approach the creator of the snowflake method seems to take (I can see how that can work for some people and novels. My own approach is much more dependent on cause-and-effect).

Finally, DeepFreeze, how is Scrivener? I've considered picking it up after this year's event (it's typically available at a 50% discount for those that finish) but I haven't used it yet. The first few years I used Microsoft (ugh) word and last year I tried it out using OpenOffice. This year I'll give LibreOffice a spin. I've considered using Apple's Pages, since it came with the system (naturally), but for an Apple product, it's surprisingly cumbersome and non-intuitive.

User avatar
Deepfreeze32
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 7043
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 12:00 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: On the run from Johnny Law; ain't no trip to Cleveland

Re: Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby Deepfreeze32 » Thu Oct 09, 2014 1:07 pm

Well, the special offer I mentioned is a trial up to December 7th. In case you wanted to try it.

I really like it. It's a fairly intuitive, if sometimes overwhelming tool. There's lots of neat little features that help in the process, such as character and location ideas. It's a little confusing in the formatting department, but you can export your manuscript to a different format if you want to format it later. My personal favorite feature is the ability to organize both research and chapters (Or however you want to organize the novel), and drag things around at will.

In short, it acts kind of like the spreadsheet you mention disliking in terms of organization, but it can contain as little or as much as you want, and the interface isn't so sterile and user-unfriendly.

I'd recommend the trial, if you haven't bothered to use it.

User avatar
ArchAngel
CCGR addict
Posts: 3547
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 12:00 am
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby ArchAngel » Thu Oct 09, 2014 3:18 pm

Yeah, I've been going through some of the tutorial last night. Seems pretty useful, but I haven't fully made up my mind. I like how it handles organization and tagging, but I want to know how it could utilize multiple monitors. I have 3 monitors on my home desktop and I don't want to be limited to just one.
And Broamir, that snowflake method does look interesting! At least until I got to the part about the spreadsheet. Then my thought was "if I'm going to spend time creating a spreadsheet to detail what happens in a scene, why not actually write the scene?" Then again, I tend to work in a more linear fashion, rather than the modular approach the creator of the snowflake method seems to take (I can see how that can work for some people and novels. My own approach is much more dependent on cause-and-effect).
Yeah, my take on it is that it's more like a guideline. The spreadsheet makes sense to me, as I would like to be able to see the full layout of the story.
Pew Pew Pew. Science.

RoA: Kratimos/Lycan
UnHuman: Tim

User avatar
Orodrist
CCGR addict
Posts: 7836
Joined: Mon Nov 03, 2008 6:38 pm
Location: Surrounded by blood and bathed in fire on a frozen lake

Re: Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby Orodrist » Thu Oct 09, 2014 9:13 pm

Also, I'm cheap so I just use Evernote. I like being able to write on my phone when I'm out fishing.
I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do - Robert A Heinlein

Courage ~ Discipline ~ Fidelity ~ Honor ~ Hospitality ~ Industriousness ~ Perseverance ~ Self Reliance ~

User avatar
ArchAngel
CCGR addict
Posts: 3547
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 12:00 am
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby ArchAngel » Sun Oct 12, 2014 6:01 am

I'm having the hardest time trying to center on what to write. I'm between, now, last years attempt (three brothers searching for the Fountain of Youth), my personal "primary" story (pan-mythology-inspired, same world I build my d&d campaigns around), and a story born out of the idea if I had to leave a story behind for a set of hypothetical kids, what would it be?(NIMH/Redwall/Watership Down-esque)
Haven't really sorted out the pros and cons for each.
Pew Pew Pew. Science.

RoA: Kratimos/Lycan
UnHuman: Tim

User avatar
Sstavix
CCGR addict
Posts: 2915
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:47 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: Idaho!

Re: Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby Sstavix » Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:41 pm

Be sure to jot down all three ideas and save a copy on your computer. That way you can refer to them later. :)

Once they are all down in a more solid format, though, it becomes easier to evaluate. Which one do you have the most scenes or characters planned out in your head, if any? That's usually what does it for me. Sometimes I might not actually use the scene that I had visualized, but it will give you direction or motivation, at least.

User avatar
Deepfreeze32
Site Admin
Site Admin
Posts: 7043
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 12:00 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: On the run from Johnny Law; ain't no trip to Cleveland

Re: Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby Deepfreeze32 » Mon Oct 13, 2014 7:43 pm

I keep coming up with all these awesome ideas, but I don't know if they're developed enough to really use for this event. I also don't know whether or not I should just try and commit to one, or wait until I write out a little of all of them to see which clicks the best.

Ugh. XD

User avatar
ArchAngel
CCGR addict
Posts: 3547
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 12:00 am
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby ArchAngel » Mon Oct 13, 2014 9:08 pm

Be sure to jot down all three ideas and save a copy on your computer. That way you can refer to them later. :)
Oh, these are all from a list of ideas I have written down. I peruse it ever so often, revisiting old concepts, maybe merging it with new ones. All very fun.
Once they are all down in a more solid format, though, it becomes easier to evaluate. Which one do you have the most scenes or characters planned out in your head, if any? That's usually what does it for me. Sometimes I might not actually use the scene that I had visualized, but it will give you direction or motivation, at least.
The Fountain of Youth concept has a much more filled out plot, but the setting and world for the Pan-mythology is better developed and more compelling for me. I'd say they both have rather half-baked characters for both. Pan-Mythology I think has more scenes and characters, but they're more disjointed. I'm further along with the world for the Fountain of Youth than I am with the plot for Pan-Mythology.

I've been leaning towards the Fountain of Youth story lately. It feels a little more feasible, and it's still something I can get a bit lost in. If my list of ideas shows one common thread, it's that I'm better of coming up with a setting than a plot. It'll should be easier to fill in the blanks.
I keep coming up with all these awesome ideas, but I don't know if they're developed enough to really use for this event. I also don't know whether or not I should just try and commit to one, or wait until I write out a little of all of them to see which clicks the best.

Ugh. XD
Haha, I hear you. My list has 25 half-baked ideas right now. I don't know what's normal, but it at least feels like a lot to me.
Pew Pew Pew. Science.

RoA: Kratimos/Lycan
UnHuman: Tim

User avatar
Sstavix
CCGR addict
Posts: 2915
Joined: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:47 am
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: Idaho!

Re: Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby Sstavix » Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:17 pm

I just created a bare bones character template for my own use, but if anyone else wants a copy, let me know and I can send it to you!

I can't upload it to this forum post, though, so I'll duplicate it here. If you would like me to e-mail it to you, feel free to send me a PM with your e-mail address. :)

Basically, I created a simple document and divided it into two columns. In the right column I'll upload any images I make of my character. In the left column, I have these listings:

Name:

Gender:

Race:

Age:

Height:

Weight:

Hair color:

Eye color:

Other physical attributes:

Profession:

Religion:

Birthday and location:

Parents:

Siblings:

Other family members of note:

Current residence:

History:

Personality:

Not all of these categories will be needed for every character, but it will serve as a useful guideline for rounding out characters, and a handy reference for when I'm working on my novel.

Another suggestion that I've kept for years was given to me from a different gaming forum. Basically, to help flesh out a character's personality, get inspiration from the old bridal mantra - "something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue." Try to come up with one or two words for each trait, and then flesh it out from there.

For "something old," this can be a trait that the character has that can be expected to see. For example, if your character is an old lady, you could use "cat-lover."

For "something new," a trait that you can add that is unconventional, that helps to buck the mold and adds flavor. For my old lady example, I could use "motorcycle enthusiast."

For something borrowed, go ahead and think of a character from a book, TV show, movie or video game that you like, and borrow one of those traits. Since I like Doctor Who, I'll go ahead and add "motormouth" to my old lady. ;)

Finally, for "something blue," a personality trait that can be added just for a bit of spice. Again looking at my old lady, I'll go out on a limb and add "lewd."

So, in my example, I have an old lady with the traits "cat lover, motorcycle enthusiast, motormouth and lewd." Just with these four words, I can develop an interesting personality. She's an elderly lady who was a burlesque dancer in her 20s. She became a biker when a motorcycle gang rolled into her town, and she travelled around the country with them. Due to an accident that caused damage to her hip, she's had to retire and works part time at a local animal shelter (she's still pretty mean with a wrench, though, and rebuilds Harleys in the garage in her spare time). Even so, she has no problem relating some of the things she's seen and done over the years to her family... usually in social settings where the topic of such conversations are not appropriate or even welcome. So my old lady is definitely a comic-relief character, and probably not the main protagonist.

Just one example that came to mind while working on this post, actually. I hope these techniques might be useful to you guys as well! :)

User avatar
ArchAngel
CCGR addict
Posts: 3547
Joined: Tue May 31, 2005 12:00 am
Location: San Jose, CA

Re: Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby ArchAngel » Tue Oct 14, 2014 8:27 pm

Oh, neat trick! I might want to give that a try. Thanks for the template, too!

Reminds me of this game design mantra Sid Meier passed down to other designers when making sequels (for Civilization series). I don't remember the details, but it was the rule of thirds, or 3/3/3 or something. One third old, one third updated, and one third new.
I was playing around with the idea when building worlds with historical inspirations (ASoIaF-esque). Have about one third pulling directly from history, have another third that takes historical concepts and modify them or take from another time or place, and another third, make it up.
Pew Pew Pew. Science.

RoA: Kratimos/Lycan
UnHuman: Tim

User avatar
selderane
Gamer
Gamer
Posts: 239
Joined: Thu Sep 20, 2012 6:30 pm
Are you human?: Yes!
Location: Wichita, KS

Re: Prepare yourself! NaNo 2014 is coming!

Postby selderane » Wed Oct 22, 2014 12:43 am

Do you chaps do anything with what you produce? Is it just for the challenge or do you have commercial aspirations?

The prose format isn't my first choice, but I do have a novel or two knocking around my head. I just love film too much to leave screenwriting to the side.

And, of course, I write with a commercial end in mind. I think we'd have far more interesting content to choose from if more would-be writers treated the craft professionally.
Everything above this sentence is opinion and worth precisely what was paid for it.
Everything below this sentence is indisputable fact as verified by scientists, philosophers, scholars, clergy, and David Bowie.

If Star Wars: Destiny is a CCG, X-Wing is an LCG.


Return to “Writing”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron