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  1. So you sign up for Camp NANOWRIMO or the November extreme addition, and you've got a title, maybe you added a synopsis, and you have at least one character. What do you do next?

    MY next step is to tape my whiteboard paper to the wall and get out my vis-a-vis markers. It's brainstorming time.

    I put on the playlist I've dedicated to this project, and I start with my biggest problem. Who's the bad guy? Literally, my go-to question for brainstorming.

    If I don't know who the villain is then I'm missing at least half, if not more, of the story. I need to know who's initiating the conflict. Do they have something against my main character, or are they inciting conflict on a more global scale?

    *Spoiler* In Hope Chest, the excerpt from Evil Author Day 2017, the villain was always going to be Molly and Ginny Weasley. Ginny Weasley is a greedy little girl who never matured enough to realize that Harry Potter was more than just her Prince Charming. For all that he has a magical lineage unlike any other, Harry was a person with feelings and opinions of his own.

    In Hope Chest, the story was focused on a Hermione/Harry romance where the villain needed to be just as personal.

    *Spoiler #2* In HeartSick (Alternatively, The Distance Between You & Me), the villain is portrayed by Alexander Pierce and he doesn't care one wit about Joss Carter personally. What he cares about is the fact that she is ruining his chances of getting away with stealing from the SGC.

    The way these two types of villains interact with the story changes who the story progresses and what types of challenges I can put in front of my main character.

    Do you have any questions about my brainstorming?
  2. Alright, so I lied. Obviously, this didn't get out yesterday. Great way to start, right? Only two days in and already missing a deadline. Well, in that case, the bar is set pretty low. Gotta go up from here.

    I am trying out a new system for writing. I created a Trello board (Trello is a free web-based task management system) for all the steps I should have in place before writing. It includes all of the elements from the Leviathan worldbuilding tool (you can find that here) and a compiled list of character traits for character development taken from WritingGeekery. As well as a bunch of cards for things that I usually skip to jump right into the writing portion.

    Which usually means that have to go back and figure these things out later.

    That is the most difficult part for me, making sure that all of the pieces fit together and make sense. Frequently, I will look back on half finished projects from years ago and realize that one of the reasons I ran out of motivation was that I didn't know where the characters were going. I didn't know what I was doing.

    The point here is not to convince anyone that this method of organization is best. Hell, I'm not even convinced that this is worth the work. It's just one option to express that anything that helps keep you organized is a good idea.

    What sorts of systems do you use for writing organization?
  3. So, I think I overdid it a little.

    My Camp Project for July is a Walking Dead piece called Begin Again.

    Synopsis reads:

    He’d been given a second chance. Another chance to get it right, to save his family from the walking dead. But it didn’t come without strings attached.

    There were genies who regularly possessed him.

    A pack of Werewolves up for six counts of murder.

    And a Detective Dixon in Atlanta who knew a startling amount about the magical world he’d just entered.​

    *

    Let me be honest here: this fic is kicking my ass. I started it back in the Fall of 2015 and it currently rests at 96k words. That’s a lot, right? And I know what you’re thinking: why isn’t it done?

    See, when I started the project I didn’t know much about the different elements of the story, from a writer’s perspective. I could locate them in other people’s writing but I couldn’t figure out how to convey it in my own. When I re-drafted the plot to include pieces I figured would help convey the character development that I wanted I ended up adding something like 26 scenes to round the project out to around 139k words.

    I imagine at least 15k words will be lost in editing.

    Want an excerpt?

    “You’re thinking small, Rick Grimes, and you’re only playing with some of the rules.” She sat up from her indolent lounge and pinned him where he stood with mismatched unaligned eyes. “You’re right and you’re wrong at the same time. The Game is simple; the Genie must survive. To survive they have to get stronger and you can only get stronger two ways. The first is to gain more …tenants, I suppose, and the other is to absorb the power of other Genies. My territory is far enough away that I don’t have to worry about Dgpemostfgish for awhile yet, if ever. However, it benefits my long term plan to screw with hers.” She lightly hopped from her seat to circle him. “So I ask again, do you know what they call you, Rick Grimes?”

    “No.” He eyed her, twisting to follow her fluid and seductive movements. “What do they call me?”

    “They call you the Fate Breaker.” She leaned in close and sniffed at the bare skin of his neck. “By all accounts, you were supposed to die from a gunshot wound to the chest before the Game even began. And some of you, between the thousands of realities, do die of a gunshot to the chest on a primitive highway in the boondocks of Georgia. But most of you don’t.”​

    *

    Tune in tomorrow to find out how I prepared for Camp NANOWRIMO and what the most difficult parts were.

    Are you preparing for NANOWRIMO? What do you think the most difficult part of writing is?

    Any opinions on the excerpt? Feel free to comment.
  4. Calcium in our bones-
    Propelling us forward in great leaps and bounds. Skipping over planets, slipping around asteroids, and bouncing from satellite to satellite.

    Iron in our veins-
    Steel swimming forth molecule by molecule to build backbones unbreakable by strife or pain. Invulnerable to weakness. Determination to strive in the minuscule element. Forward, ever onward.

    Carbon in our souls-
    No place we cannot go. Nothing we cannot build. No problem too big. No solution too small. We exist to fill the void, to bring light to the endless darkness of the world.

    Nitrogen in our brains-
    .......

    93 percent stardust-
    ............

    Souls made of flames-
    ........

    Stars with people names-
    .............

    [sorry folks, lost the theme]
  5. Life is hard. Grit in your teeth and sand on your skin, the burn of the sun across the breadth of your shoulder. Hauling in product day in and day out, from sun up to sun down. Each trek of the stars across the sky not the hope of a new opportunity but the dread of the next insurmountable goal. The cost of life is high and the toll is great.

    Who comes when the child cries? Alone in the bassinet with no cares. The innocence of childhood already streaked with the red of sin, the soot of a hard life yet to come. She cries and screams, tangled in cast off, sitting in shit. Wiggling and writhing in anger and fear. The child came into this world with war in gear.

    Black as a coal shaft, dirt on her face, restless and worthless, mud in her place. The work is not kind, not gentle, or easy; but it puts food on the table even when wheezy. There’s an empty spot at the table, an empty plate before a chair, nothing to share. Nickle and dime, penny and ounce, the track of a life covered in soot and hard put.

    A man, she found willing and able, to put aside his pride to work harder than ever. A life worth more than grit and bare bones. They’re aiming for sunshine and gold on their picks. A dream shared, made weighty and special, for the depth of love wrapped thrice around the wrist, ties them together like steel with twists.

    A child to come, lost bloody and pale, stolen in the night beyond the pale. Nearer and nearer, the thorny vine wrapped their hearts. Cold and callous in the malicious sight of the sun.

    Life is hard. Grit in your teeth and sand on your skin, the burn of the sun across the breadth of your shoulder. Hauling in product day in and day out, from sun up to sun down. Each trek of the stars across the sky not the hope of a new opportunity but the dread of the next insurmountable goal. The cost of life is high and the toll is great.

    She grits her teeth and sets her spine. Life’s toll is great, but death too, is earned.
    Iain Aschendale likes this.