What’s Up Wednesday? Revenge of the Angry Birds

October 23, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us! Of course, I try to post on Wednesdays, but apparently I was so busy with other things that I forgot to finish the draft yesterday, or sign up to the linky list. *Headsmack*

What I’m WUWMaple65%2reading:
I finished Xanth ‘Board Stiff’, and the four stories I hadn’t already read out of Larry Niven’s “Neutron Star” collection. (The four I’d already found were the ones featuring Beowulf Shaeffer.) After floundering for something new to read, I tracked down my paperback copy of Jim Butcher’s “Furies of Calderon”, and I’m loving it so far!

What I’m writing:
I finished my quick revision of “Return to Civilization” and sent it off to critters for some feedback. Still plot bunny ranching for Nanowrimo–the “Sufficiently Advanced Magic” class has gotten into structure now, and somewhat to my surprise both books I’m working on fit pretty well into a three-act outline as far as I can see.

What works for me:
Working on the bus means even when the bridge is up, that’s just more time to work on your outlining homework! 😉

What else I’ve been up to:
Well, struggling to keep Angry Birds games from taking over too much of my free time. First, I got sucked into “Angry Birds Transformers” on my iPhone, which is this crazy side-shooter. Your bird-Autobot (or pig-Decepticon) gets dropped into the level by a shuttle that turns into a train car, and you have to shoot down pigs and automated guns  before they wear your armor away, shoot at high-tech buildings to get Energon cubes (which immediately turns the buildings rustic,) and use your limited time in vehicle mode to avoid toppling statues. There are rockets that turn you into a helpless bouncing washing machine if they hit you for some reason. 😉

And Angry Birds Epic just launched a new crossover invasion tournament with another game, so I’ve been sending my bird paladins, druids, and wizards up against dragons and cartoon blobs. Let’s see, what about non-gaming activities? Got started watching Leverage, on the suggestion of some TNEO friends who thought it could help me with ‘Never Found’, loving it so far. And getting ready for Nano! The Hamilton Kickoff party is this weekend, and so Elizabeth Twist and I spent a few hours on Sunday collating hipster PDAs and stuffing gift bags.

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.

What’s Up Wednesday? The NanoLaunch!

October 15, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

What I’m WUWMaple65%2reading:
I’ve nearly finished the latest Xanth, ‘Board Stiff’ from the library’s ebooks department. It’s been a fun romp so far, especially since Com-Pewter finally joined the quest as one of the good guys, wandering around in an android body. I’ve also caught up on a few Toasted Cake and PodCastle episodes, and started reading a Doctor Who graphic novel I picked up years ago at a convention.

What I’m writing:
Well, I started the rewrite for “Return to Civilization” at the Sunday write-in, and I’ve been worldbuilding and character sketching for crazy on my two Nanowrimo plot bunnies (plot bunny ranching?) With big props to the Storywonk “Sufficiently Advanced Magic” class, which has been a very fun way to get ready.

What works for me:
Umm… I’m not quite sure this week, it’s been sortuv time for kissing frogs, as it were. I actually got a bunch of character sketching done in front of the TV last night, which doesn’t always work. Some of the time, I was catching up on “Castle” and “The Big Bang Theory”, but at other points I’d turned the TV to music or just off while I worked on chasing down a particular thought. And that’s kinda cool, that I can make the writing the priority and not the television. 🙂

What else I’ve been up to:
Well, I got up to see the family for Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, which was great. Played in the Angry Birds Epic “For the Pirate King” invasion event, made it into the 3rd place spot of whatever and scored some decent prize points. And the Nanowrimo site has relaunched, so I’ve been busy exploring the new forums and organizing spotlight interviews.

And speaking of what I’ve been reading, I updated my reading lists for the year over at Stringing Words, and it looks like I’ve read 336 short stories and 62 novels already this year!

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.

Nano Spotlight: Shea Koshan

October 17, 2013

Good morning! I’ve got lots of spotlights to share with you, so say hello to Shea Koshan.

Nanowrimo Experience:
This is my ninth year doing Nanowrimo. I first found out about it because a friend of mine on a Harry Potter RP forum told me she was doing it, but I didn’t join in until a year or two later. My best memory from Nanowrimo so far was telling people to throw a fridge when they said they had writer’s block and then it turned into a thing. If you ever wondered where Timmy got it from, I kinda played a part in that. I’m not sorry.

What are you writing about this year?
I don’t know yet! I now run a poll every year to decide what I’m going to write. On October 25th, when the poll closes, I find out what I’m writing as decided by the internet.

Who’s the best character in your Nano novel?
I don’t know yet! I do have five in the running, though, so I’ll talk about the main character from each story with minimal spoilers.

Mirabella is delightfully terrible as a person. She is very self centered and thinks of things in terms of what she wants. She’s ambitious and wants everything, not thinking about who she steps on in order to get it. She can talk her way into most things she wants and, while she’s willing to get her hands dirty, she won’t if she can convince someone else to do it for her. She’s also fairly short-sighted and doesn’t think too much on anything if things are going her way.

Escaping Reality 
Read the rest of this entry »

Hanging onto a Camp plot bunny

March 18, 2013

I’m busy with a lot of other stuff just at the moment, but with Camp Nanowrimo coming up, I’ve been trying to spare some time and attention for a novel idea, so that I don’t have to rely entirely on the Dares and Adopt-a-plot tent once April starts. 🙂

I’ve got a few good ideas coming together so far. The first thing that I decided was that I wanted to do a sortof-prequel-related-tale to my Script Frenzy project from 2011, The Alien Mafia. In that movie, Earthlings have hyperspace ships, and have made contact with a few alien races, including the merchant Aurigae, but they’re still a run-down galactic backwater species by alien standards. I got curious about how we got from here to there, and about the first extra-solar planet that Earthlings would ever visit. Some lonely Aurigae outpost or a trade marketplace, maybe, that the Aurigae will ferry Earthlings to if they pay enough, where you might find items that the Aurigae refuse to buy or sell, if you’re crazy or desperate enough.

I liked that setting, but for a few days I couldn’t figure out who my main characters or what their conflict was about; thought about diplomats trying to set up an Earth Consulate on this other planet, but I couldn’t find a way to make that compelling enough. And then, when I was getting ready for bed one evening a few weeks ago, the characters and the plot started to come together.

Start with a nerdy forensic accountant, working with the Global Police but not really respected by all the ‘real cops.’ He’s tracking down a cyber-thief, the swindler of the decade, and figures out that the swindler is on an Aurigae ship leaving for the domed city of Argos a few minutes too late to stop the launch. But he really needs to see the swindler brought to Earthling justice; he promised some of the victims, and he knows that things could get messy if criminals know that all they need to do to escape the police is hop on board the Aurigae Express. So he manages to get assigned, along with a tough-as-nails Fugitive Retrieval Marshal, to travel to Argos themselves and bring back the perp.

Of course, that’s easier said than done. The two Earth cops have no backup on Argos, no support other than what they can buy for themselves with a relatively tight budget. There are only a few dozen other earthlings on Argos at the time. Local law enforcement is on the lax side, because there are four different alien species who come to do business at Argos, and the sovereign government has decreed that the local cops shouldn’t do anything to offend anybody, lest the trade revenue dry up. And our Earthling swindler has joined up with a local gang.

That’s about as far as I’ve gotten with the main plot, but a few of the worldbuilding details are filling themselves in. I really want to stress the contrast between Earth as a planet of strict law and order at this point, versus the ‘wild frontier outpost’ feel of Argos. And there’s a dark side to Earth’s lawfulness, which will feed into the character conflict eventually; the One Earth government was formed in a hurry when the Aurigae first arrived, because their first communications made it clear that they’d judge Earthlings on how well they could settle their differences, and nobody wanted to find out what they’d do if they found us wanting. But now the government has gotten good at ruthlessly suppressing any sign of protest or dissatisfaction, and the swindler isn’t just a criminal of opportunity; she’s got sorta-Libertarian ideals, and was trying to raise funds for a revolution before the GP closed in…

Developing a novel idea.

August 23, 2010

So – I was surprised by a plot bunny, or possibly a small pack of them, walking home from work last week. Well, I don’t walk all the way home – I walk about two and a half kilometers into downtown Burlington, and catch the Hamilton number eleven bus from there, but that doesn’t have anything to do with the idea.

And possibly I shouldn’t even call this bunny a ‘plot bunny’, though that’s the usual term in some of my writing circles, because the idea that I’ve got a the moment – well, there are a few plot elements, but mostly what I’ve got is the beginning of a sci-fi world setting, and a few character notions, and how an adventure for them begins, and the vaguest idea of where it might take them.

So, out of this – I’m not quite sure where go next to flesh the idea out before I start writing – though I’m sure I do want to put a bit more thought into it before I start. This is a part of the process that I’ve never really thought about in much detail before – I suppose I keep the notion on ‘the back burner’ of my head for a little while to see what develops next. It would be interesting to try to structure this into an outline in a more formal way, though, but I’m not sure where to start.

Do I start with the characters I already know about, interviewing them with questionnaires, and trying to figure out who else might be a person of interest in the story? Worldbuild like crazy? (Especially important since the idea involves several alternate Earths.) Try to segment the plot, breaking it up into beginning middle and end, or come up with a plot structure like the Beat sheet and fill in the blanks?

If you have any thoughts or especially useful links on this topic, please comment away! I’m exhausted just thinking about it all.

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