Here comes the Bladesage

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series bladesage

For a number of years I have been telling myself I want to do more gaming (as in RPG gaming) and more writing. To make things easier, I thought I would try to make the two run together. Of course, I’ve participated in the last two NaNoWriMos (winning the last two), but precious little gaming and no writing outside of NaNo. There’s an expression about good intentions that I think applies here. Over the years I’ve had a couple of good ideas for a setting for this stuff but other than a few notes on various bits of paper, nothing much has happened. I even considered expanding the setting of my 2008 NaNoNovel and I didn’t even like it all that much!

Now, I am actually going to do something concrete. You read it here, so it must be true. It’s a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts, if only because having people know about what I’m trying to do might keep me a little bit accountable.

Here’s the plan. The gaming (which will be solo initially, expanding to include the children as time and circumstances permit) will be using Swords and Wizardry and Mythic GME. The writing will be to fill in the blanks in history and world setting or to expand on something fun or interesting that comes up in the games. I hope to have plenty of back-story to be able to do NaNo ’10 using the setting and my NaNo/Twitter friend winnie3k has encouraged me to try to add a short story per quarter into the mix too.

Mythic Yahoo! group member blastedpsychic has produced a very clever Random Campaign Start Up Generator for Mythic which I have used. While I was planning to veto any rolls that really didn’t appeal (what on earth is a ‘Noir’ theme anyway?) I managed to get a very interesting setting out of it. I’ve given it the working name of Bladesage (after the significant city state in the area) and I’m planning to expand on some of the details I rolled up as I go..

I have a basic history, a set of bad guys, a possible good guy/girl, some external influences, some internal movements, a couple of non-human races and a terrifying wandering monster. I hope to share some of these in my next couple of posts.

Watch this space.

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YANC (Yet another writing challenge)

Hot on the heels of my second NaNoWriMo win, and thanks to a post from fellow wrimo Natnie, I’m going to have a go at the inagural Project52.

I’ve complained regularly of spending more time fiddling with the theme on this site than I do writing on it. This could be a good way around it. I had already set in mind a goal to do more writing here this year but Project52 seems to be a good idea. It’s concrete (write once a week), there’s community (one of the great things about NaNoWriMo) and hopefully some accountability.

So this year expect a bit more traffic here. It will be no more focused than it normally is. Maybe once I get into the habit of writing more often, I might be able to “brand” the site a bit and maybe focus on one particular topic. But we’ll leave the future for the future.

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Nag me for NaNoWriMo 2009

Following on from this brilliant idea last year, I’m going to keep tabs on my progress in this year’s challenge right here.

To all those friends and family who I have pointed in this direction, please keep an eye on me here and feel free to give me a hard time if I am looking like I need one. Have a look at my Progress Report if you are interested in the details. Please leave a comment here, give me a ring or a text message, send me an email or knock me over in the street with your car. Anything to remind me what I’m supposed to be doing.

As with last year, there are some pretty little images to show how things are going:

Country vs City Word War, Elsewhere in Australia vs Perth, North

North vs South Word War (race, really), Me in Esperance vs Kamu in Port Hedland:

As of just before midnight on 31st October none of these links and clever images are working. I’m sure the NaNo servers will get with it eventually!Done. Images working now. Sweet. (edited 2009-11-06) – Of course now that this NaNo is well over and done with the images aren’t available at all. I might have to remember to save them in future. (edited 2014-05-08)

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Soundtrack for 2009

For an interesting exercise, I’ve created a soundtrack for the forthcoming film of my 2009 NaNovel.

We can dream can’t we?

  • Love Lies Bleeding – Elton John
  • Julie’s Been Working for the Drug Squad – The Clash
  • She’s Invisible Now – Eurythmics
  • Would You Believe? – Roxy Music
  • Superman Main Title Theme*
  • He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother – The Hollies
  • You Know I’ll Always Love You – Budgie
  • Flames of Fire – Machinae Supremacy
  • Super Steve – Machinae Supremacy
  • Laura – Flogging Molly
  • Liar – Queen
  • Blood Brothers – Iron Maiden**
  • Liar, Liar – Castaways
  • For All Tomorrow’s Lies – Berlin
  • Ride of the Valkyries*

* I apologise in advance for the use of the Superman Theme and the Wagner. It was just too hard to leave them out, being a superhero story and all (My MC can’t even fly!)
** I also apologise for the Maiden. But I’m fairly convinced that my muse comes disguised as Eddie, so I’d best make this small offering for the sake of a smooth and comfortable November.

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Mythic and NaNoWrimo 2009

We’re well within two months of NaNoWriMo 2009 and I’m not really sure what I’m wanting to do.

Last year’s story only told half of the story I had planned, so I was originally planning on doing a sequel. But now I don’t want to. I was happy to leave it where it finished. In fact, the story I ended up telling started off being just the introduction to the story I first envisioned telling. It’s funny how things turn out sometimes!

I need to come up with something else. That doesn’t need to be hard, I’ve always got lots of ideas, I just need ideas plus inspiration. And a bit of interest developed in the subject matter.

So instead, I’ve come up with a completely different and very stupid idea that will have me doing almost everything differently to how I did it (successfully) last year.

I’ve been playing around with the Mythic Game Master Emulator (demo here and yahoo group here) for my role playing games this year and I am considering using that to completely “wing it”. The GME book says this:

Finally, Mythic: GME can be used as a writing tool. The architecture that creates dynamic adventures is really an automated story-telling system. It will work just as well without any games or formalized characters attached. Just set the scene, ask some questions, and start writing.

If it works the way I see it, I could just come up with a general concept (or even make one randomly) and then use the system and appropriately phrased questions to let the plot work itself out.

Some years ago, I did some rough outlines of an alternate-history Earth. Very little of it got detailed, but the setting has a reasonably defined place in my mind. The idea of writing a novel set there, and having the Mythic Fate chart to help me flesh it out really appeals to me.

I’ll keep you informed as to how it goes…

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Why did I win last year?

Another post that spent far too much time in my drafts folder. The original title was “Why did I win this year?”. Sorry ’bout that.

I am speaking of course, of my finally winning at NaNoWriMo. It was my third attempt last year and I think it would be quite a stretch to call my efforts in 2006 and 2007 “attempts” at all!

So what did I do differently? What made the difference?

Here’s what I reckon (in no particular order):

  1. I got started straight away. In previous attempts, I fell behind on day 1. I don’t think I need to explain this further 🙂
  2. I got involved in the community. My primary community was the “Elsewhere in Australia” regional forum (we have even continued our association at the new Elsewhere Wrimos forum. The Fantasy Genre Longue was just too busy.
  3. A bit of competition. Had a month-long word war with my writing buddy Kamu. She got to 50K first, but I was never more that just a good day’s work behind. It kept me motivated.
  4. Used my bread maker to keep me up. We eat home-made breadmaker bread at home. I set the bread to cook every night so that it finished at about midnight. Once that is done, I can’t do to bed, otherwise the bread will be soggy in the morning. I have to stay up to get it out. This saved me from quitting early (for the night, not the month) on more than one occasion.
  5. Realised I can write 2000 words in a stretch without too much trouble. Once that clicked, I knew that I could do it. Good days could net me 4K or more, but I knew that on any one day I could the minimum required without any trouble
  6. Made and kept to a writing quota plan. I set up a spreadsheet table. Calculated how many days I had and how many words I had to write. Each day was given a weighting: either 1 for a normal day, 0 for a day I was not going to write at all or 0.5 for an easy day. It turned out a normal day was 2.5K (see above) and 1250 words for a lighter day and I had planned days off (eg Friday nights). I never fell behind in my total plan (I kept track of that too) though I did have a couple of days where I didn’t quite make my required total for that day. But because I knew where I was (and I had a great day 1, see #1 above) I could do that safely.
  7. Almost killed myself in the first week due to lack of sleep (funny how the headaches went away during week 2).
  8. Listened to the podcasts. I even got my voice on one episode! I was always looking forward to the next one coming out.
  9. Plan. I’m a bit ambivalent about this one. It was good knowing where the story was supposed to go, but I think with all the other positive things that went right this time I might have managed without it. For this year I am tempted to start blank with the Mythic Game Master Emulator. Don’t ask me to explain now, I’ve got a Mythic post in my drafts folder too!
  10. Jer’s Novel Writer. To be fair, I used JNW in 2007 and yWriter in 2006 (when I was still a Microsoft slave), so this is not a new thing. But I could not have managed this without the appropriate software.
  11. Mini-goals with cheese. What? I set myself little goals through the night. “You can’t have your first coffee until you hit 500”. “No toilet break until you finish another 100”. “You can listen to the podcast once you’ve done 1000”. That sort of thing. The cheese was Blue Castello cheese. My favourite (actually, red is my favourite but no one sells it!) and I couldn’t have any until I had done 2000 words.

Please don’t take this as a how-to-win guide, you can find plenty of those around the place. This is simply a list of some of the things that gelled for me in 2008 and helped me win! Roll on NaNo ’09.

Since November, I have finally read my novel and on reflection it is a lot less pathetic than I first thought. If there are any masochistic readers of derivative fantasy out there who would like a look, just leave a comment to that effect.

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They have got to be kidding

Yeah. Right.

While tidying my sidebars recently, I updated my token adsense ad (surely an act of purest optimism to even bother). Probably because my topics here are all over the place, I can never predict the sorts of ads that might turn up.

Have a look at one that I noticed today:

“Novel Writing Software. Guaranteed To Have Your Novel In A Month Working Only 1 Hour a Day.”

1 hour a day? For a month?

I don’t think so. It took me three goes at nanowrimo to even get a crap 50,000 word story happening.

That’d want to be some super magic software. Don’t think I’ll be clicking on it.

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NaNoWrimo 2008, Won!

I did mention this in my update post, but I thought the news deserved its own post.

I won NaNoWriMo! Yes, after two less-than-stellar efforts (perhaps effort isn’t the right word), I have managed to write 50,000 words in the month of November.

Go me!

I reached the 50,000 word goal on Monday night, with plenty of time to spare and just in time for the official validation engine to start up and have my victory officially recognised. I thought I still had about 10,000 words left of the story to go, but as I was writing last night I realised I was much closer than I thought. So now, not only have I reached the artificial (though still somewhat challenging) target of 50K, I also have a complete first draft of “Conspiracy of Resonance”.

If anyone is interested in having a read and doesn’t mind a story with a certain amount of blood in it, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment or contact me in the usual ways and request a copy. Be prepared to wield your red pen a lot in the process.

I’ll post a bit later about how I think I managed to get through this year where I didn’t in ’06 and ’07, but for now I just want to share a post I put up in our regional forum:

What are you looking forward to?

Don’t get me wrong. I have loved (and am still loving) every minute of this sleep-deprived month, but there are a few things that I am looking forward to doing come December. How about you?

  • Going to bed later on the same day that I woke up rather than early the next morning. (As Waldo Butters once said to Harry Dresden: “Sleep is God. Go worship.”)
  • Reading a book. Specifically, I received in the mail a week or two ago the entire Hal Spacejock series by Simon Haynes (wrimo HalSpacejock). I’ve also got the latest Genghis Khan book by Conn Iggulen and The Children of Hurin by (sort of) Tolkien burning holes in my bookshelf.
  • Finishing Neverwinter Nights 2 (once I have recovered from this lot of sleep deprivation and can afford another round.
  • Detoxing from caffeine overload. Fruit juice and herbal tea, here I come!
  • Waiting to order and receive my Nano 2008 Winner’s T-shirt which have been rumoured about!

While I will no doubt be daydreaming about what Nano 2009 will bring, I’m not certain I’m convinced that I will be reading and editing this year’s effort before the end of the month (Jaye’s prediction). I might send it off, warts and all, to a few interested readers who will no doubt love it madly and have nothing bad to say about it.

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