Upheaval, aka life happens

October 9, 2012 § Leave a comment


Someone totaled my car on Sunday so I haven’t had time to do any blog writing but I’m glad to say I have been keeping up my daily writing, although the past few days I’ve been finishing it just under the wire before midnight. All the stress and high emotions resulting from the experience have also made for some good writing inspiration, and getting the feelings out on paper means I sleep really well the rest of the night. It’s very cathartic, and I can translate it to fit what I’m writing, so all the better!

I’ll admit I was starting to flag on my story for a little while and have doubts. I still do but I can push past them because I know in the end I’ll find the story I want to write one way or another, even if it means writing a different one to get there.


A sort-of summary

October 6, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’m just so happy to have come up with a summary I just have to share. It’s still rough but it’s something.

The scattered communities of people living in the former Americas are living on borrowed time; a combination of commercial farming and biological warfare has rendered the soil infertile. The only food left is the kind that comes in a can.

Aran and Isac, two brothers who have lived their entire lives in this hostile environment, are scavengers for their community who are willing to find this food. The risk is great; they must face dangerously unstable architecture, unforgiving weather systems, and the ever present threat of attack by other scavengers and survivors. All the while they know that as soon as the last of the food is gone, their time is up.

It’s a jungle in here

October 4, 2012 § Leave a comment

Here’s an excerpt from my daily writing. I thought I might show a peek of the world I’m working on.

The boundaries between their community and the beginnings of the city were unmistakable. Squat concrete buildings gave way to multilevel dwellings in various states of decay as the termite-infested skeletons collapsed onto themselves. Long vines of ivy pulled the buildings into the earth like giant arms, twisting and twining in rain spouts and broken windows. The structures seemed less affected as they moved closer to the city center, perhaps because the broken concrete had only begun to give way to the insistent call of the natural world. Many places were completely devoid of plant life, but still the decay was evident in the crumbling facades of stores exposed to years of the elements with no one to care. The tallest buildings which seemed to stretch up to the clouds had once been covered in glass, which now lay in various sized shards in the streets up to two blocks away. The result was remarkably like the skeleton of a giant snake stood on end.

Not much to report

October 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

I haven’t been doing anything particularly new the past few days, just more character development via short stories in addition to biting my nails and wondering if my story concept is really any good. It’s a weird part of my psyche that basically goes “I love it, this is the best most original thing ever! No wait, I hate it, it’s stupid and has been done to death. Move on!” Kind of makes it difficult to decide one way or the other if my brain is telling me both.

It bothers me that I still can’t really summarize the story very well. I know all the parts but trying to put them into words just sounds silly. There are also multiple scenarios that I haven’t ruled out yet which could take the story in a few different directions. I think I just shouldn’t worry about it yet, but that’s easier said than done…

Nano boot camp is also going well, I wrote 1500 words in about an hour.

Research and small stories

October 1, 2012 § Leave a comment

While I wait for some research materials to download and/or ship to me, I’ve started writing out some scenes from my characters backstories to try and firm up their voices and personalities, as well as get into the habit of writing parts of a story every day. Not to say I haven’t been writing before, but it’s more easily done when you’re brainstorming because none of it really matters, whereas once you start writing the actual novel, speaking through the characters, the words flow slower and I have to resist the urge to read and re-read what I’ve written up to this point and make changes.

It’s kind of fun writing these little one-shots. The first one I wrote today was from my main character’s perspective when he was a child, which is quite different from the adult version I will be writing. It’s also letting me get the setting straightened out and is giving me some things to think about as far as logistics that I’m glad I know about now instead of on November 1st.

The research I’m doing will mostly involve watching the show Life After People and looking up information and photos of Pripyat (the ghost town near Chernobyl), which gives a great view of what happens when humans abandon a city and it returns to nature.

Plot sketching

September 30, 2012 § 1 Comment

One day left until the great long month of October, in which I hope to outline the novel I will write in November and hopefully not tire of the concept. The last half of September has been devoted entirely to brainstorming, and I must have come up with a dozen or so different ideas for a story ranging from the cliche to the overly complex. I think I’ve settled somewhere in between, although to be honest I’ve tried to concentrate on character creation and purposely ignore plot until I’ve nailed them down.

I’ve finally done it. I have characters and what they want, their goals and in some cases their sub or secondary goals. I have some pretty good flaws. They are still kind of flat but that makes sense because I haven’t started writing them yet. The character prompts my sister has been giving me will help with that a lot.

I won’t lie, plot has crossed my mind more than once as I wonder how to move these characters around in the world. I don’t want to ignore it either because it’s hard to have a word count if you don’t know where your story is going. I do have rough ideas for the high energy events like the end of the beginning, crisis point, and climax and now I just need to flesh them out and think them through in detail to make sure it’s a good concept. I have a lot of ideas that sound great initially but when I think about them logistically, they break down.

Name Game: I win

September 29, 2012 § Leave a comment

I finally came up with names yesterday for the three major characters in my story, and it is such a relief! There was some kind of mental hangup with creating my characters before they were properly named. I told myself that it didn’t matter what they were called yet, but I found myself looking up naming sites and statistics online when I should have been developing characters. I’m glad that’s over so I can finally move forward.

This is probably the first time I tried to give the names of my characters meaning and mould the sound of the name to speak to their personalities. I also wanted to make sure they didn’t sound too much alike. The most helpful site in this endeavor has turned out to be thinkbabynames.com. They not only list the names and the meanings but also variations in spelling and names that sound similar. It was extremely helpful when you don’t have a very good idea of what you’re looking for and need some inspiration.