Tuesday, November 29, 2011

#NaNoWriMo - Winner Circle!

Hurray! 50K of novel done in 29 days.

Mind you, the plot hasn't actually finished yet but that's a minor detail.

Shiny certificate.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Nearing the end of NaNoWriMo

So, in my part of the world, it's Sunday the 27th at 10:54 pm

I have complete 46K words for the novel, I have a mere 4,000 words to go.

This is the first time I ever tried to write a 50K novel in 30 days. It's been an interesting experience.
But to some extent, I never would have made it without taking 2 weeks off work. I can base that on two problems
  1. it was pretty rare for me to just 'go for broke' typing. I kept going through ideas in my head working through things and that's not in the NaNo spirit.
  2. if you are going to write a novel in a mere month, it really is a good idea to have a solid picture of the main events, the major characters. Give everything names, write up sheets about them and get to know them IN ADVANCE. Cause if you don't, problem 1 kicks in again. 

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NaNo Snippet 10

Onyx jumped at the voice, letting go entirely of the knife. He looked around to see a boy only a year or two older. The boy was dressed strangely, more fur and feathers, not cloth.

“What do you mean, kill him? I’m trying to help him.” He looked at Master Dervin, now looking extremely pale.

“If you pull that knife out of him now, he’ll bleed to death. You’ve naught prepared to staunch the flow of blood that I can see.”

“Could you help me keep him alive? It sounds like you know something about this. I don’t know anything about healing,” he looked pleadingly at the stranger. “I’m Onyx, and that’s Master Dervin.”

“My name is Sam.” Sam knelt down by Master Dervin examining the wound and the knife. “Removing that knife will be tricky. We’ll have to work together, if you want any chance of Master Dervin surviving. Are you sure you don’t want to just finish him off instead? That will be easier.”

Onyx shook his head. “I need Master Dervin. He’s teaching me…stuff.” Onyx found himself reluctant to say the word magic after Frillion. “What should I do?”

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Things I look forward to post NaNo

Briefly visiting the various TS3 saves of mine and checking that all seems well. Then back up and install Pets EP plus update Twallan's mods.

Shannon will have her baby here http://artflowsthrough.blogspot.com/
Nick will manage to have his way and there will be baby 2 here http://wowindianasam.blogspot.com/
Then finally Sammy will be sent in to find out what's new and cool about Pets http://sammysimmie.blogspot.com/ This Sammy is definitely due to have a boyfriend/husband and thanks to Kaleeko - he'll have a fluffy pink shirt - LOL

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NaNoWriMo Snippet 9

It wasn’t long before Onyx realised that they were being followed through the streets. He glanced back to see a group of men and boys, ranging from his age to men in their twenties. Master Dervin was moving steadily through the crowds, so Onyx decided that his attention was better placed at moving then on the followers. Still, once having noticed the following crowd, Onyx couldn’t help but glance back again. He regretted that immediately, the group was bigger and a little bit closer.

Onyx tried to pull Pungo even with Lady Evelyn. That was when the crowd stopped merely following.

“Get the boy,” someone shouted.

Master Dervin whirled around. “Do not touch my apprentice. Leave us be, we are leaving.”

“We’ll show you what we think of your kind. Grab the boy.”

Lightning flashed from one of the storm clouds, now directly above the city. “I said leave him. I don’t want to cause harm, but I will. Don’t try it.”

Two of the crowd darted forward, closing the gap between them and Onyx.

There was a flash of light with a deep boom. Master Dervin had sent the lightning crashing to within a hairs breath of those trying to grab Onyx. Both Pungo and Lady Evelyn tried to bolt, Pungo lashing out with his back legs. Onyx blinked trying to see again after the blinding flash.

Master Dervin turned to grab Pungo’s lead when a knife flew out from the crowd. It buried itself deep in the master’s right shoulder. Dervin gasped with pain and released the full fury of the storm he’d been holding. Cold rain with large hailstones poured out of the sky. It wasn’t long before the streets cleared of all traffic, except Dervin, Onyx and the two donkeys. Master Dervin had invoked a barrier that kept the rain and hail from them.

Post NaNo plans

I plan to spend most of December doing other stuff, unless I have yet to finish the first draft of the NaNo novel. I'll finish the first draft, if that's not done yet.

By January, my brain should be clear enough to start the editing. I'm more likely to read what's really there and not what I think should be there. How long the edits will take? No clue at all.

So when can you read it? Well, a brave soul might have access to the 1st draft but that's a true warts and all. Second draft should be much better whenever that happens.

Monday, November 21, 2011

NaNoWriMo - best character introduction

Onyx removed his master from Lady Evelyn as gently as he could. Master Dervin was no longer awake and the amount of blood on his clothes looked massive. Onyx reached for the knife, preparing to remove it from the wound.

“Ah, trying to finish him off?” came an unexpected voice from behind. “Do you need help?”

NaNoWriMo Snippet 8

The sun was low in the sky when Master Dervin noticed a small manor house off one side of the road. “Never hurts to ask, though I doubt this crop needs our assistance.” Onyx nodded his agreement, there were very healthy looking plants in the fields.

Master Dervin noticed a man working in the fields, “Good evening to you, sir. We were wondering…”

The man straightening up, his eyes widening in surprise. “Margo! We have visitors, dear.” The door to the house opened and a plump middle aged lady beckoned the pair over.

“Come in, come in. Are you hungry?” She looked at Onyx, “Of course you’re hungry, I can see that you’re a growing boy.”

“Well, first we’d like to take care of the donkeys, if that’s possible?” said Master Dervin.

“Ben, Larry, come here boys.” A pair of young men strode into view. “You take those donkeys and put them up in the barn. Be careful of Molly, you know she’s been a bit tetchy lately. Molly is our plow mule,” she said to Master Dervin.

“We were going to ask for shelter for the night.”

“Of course you can stay. We haven’t had visitors in ages. Now, you two get inside.”

“Yes m’m,” replied Onyx.

“If you’re sure,” said Master Dervin.

“There’s plenty of food, between our field hands and the boys, I have to be sure of that. We have guest quarters too, no problems.” Ben and Larry returned with the packs. “You boys put those in the green guest room. Then wash up, supper is nearly ready.” She turned to her guests. “Well, go on then, follow the boys to your room. Food should be ready in half an hour, I’ll send someone up to tell you when.” Master Dervin raised his hands in surrender, he’d realised that he was never going to get a word in edgewise.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

NaNoWriMo Snippet 7

And if the weather was fine at the midday break, Onyx had more lessons on summoning the wind. Master Dervin was very patient about that first lesson. “Now, let’s try this again.” It was the end of the week and Onyx felt no closer to being able to move the leaf as he was on the first day.

“But master, I can’t do it. I can’t work out how to call the wind deliberately. And if I call it accidentally, I’m likely to hurt someone seriously.”

“You can do it, Onyx. It’s not an easy thing, but you will be able to do it. Just relax, be patient, let your mind wander.” Master Dervin was using a small dust devil to cause the leaf to dance on the grass.

“That dust devil, it doesn’t feel the same as the breeze,” remarked Onyx.

“Very good, apprentice. A dust devil is born of wind, and can be summoned much the same way. However, the dust devil is a small entity of itself, and once it exists, it’s completely independent of other weather.”

Onyx idly watched the leaf dancing back and forth. After a couple of minutes, he decided to snatch the leaf away. The dust devil danced on without the leaf for a few more moments.

“Congratulations Onyx, you’ve done it.”


“You called a puff of wind to steal the leaf from my dust devil. It was a bit stronger than I would have liked,” Master Dervin pointed ruefully at the leaf which was a good 5 meters away, “but you’ve done it. Now fetch the leaf back and try to be more gentle this time.” Onyx started to get up to move the leaf closer again. “No, lad, you don’t need to touch it yourself. Ask the wind.”

Onyx sat stunned for a minute while he tried to remember exactly how he’d stolen the leaf from the dust devil. His plan had been to reach over and grab it but then he had asked the wind to do it for him. He closed his eyes and visualised a little puff of wind pushing the leaf his direction. When he opened his eyes, the leaf was a good meter closer than it had been.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NaNoWriMo Snippet 6

Back at the tavern, the farmer quickly settled the account while Dervin and Onyx finally had breakfast.
“Does anyone threaten to not pay what they’ve promised?”

“Well, Onyx. I’ve never had that happen, but it’s not a surprise. An angry weather mage can do a lot of damage. A sudden freeze, a sudden flood, temperatures soaring, a large hailstorm. I don’t think there are many people willing to risk such damage, since they have some idea what a weather mage can do.” He looked at Onyx.  “That’s why it’s important that you make your status clear. Most people know not to do anything to mages, but they do have to know it’s a mage they deal with. There are always some stupid enough to take that risk, your bullies probably wouldn’t have left you be even knowing there was a risk that you could call weather. But those who know enough to pay, also know enough that they must pay if services were rendered.”

Onyx nodded as he scrapped the last few oats from the bottom of his bowl of porridge. “I hadn’t done anything to provoke them.”

“I believe that. Sometimes there are people who seem to need to prove they’re superior by putting down others. That particular lot decided to prove it by brute strength, I suspect they knew you’re brighter than they are.”

“But Mark, in my class, he knew way more about reading and maths than I do.”

“Mistress Anna told me that you were unusually talented and were catching up to all of her current students quickly. Mark might have suspected that you are quite smart, you’ve just never had the chance to develop it. His type always tries to get even with anyone who seems to be better than they are.”

 Breakfast finished, the pair returned to their room and picked up the bags. They walked to the stable and prepared their donkeys for the day’s journey.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

NaNoWriMo general update

So it's the 16th of Nov. I am nearly at 23,000 words for NaNo, which isn't good enough to finish on time - I should be above 25,000 at this point. Not far off the mark but I would like to be even with par by the end of the week.

And the interesting thing is that the only way I'm going to find out how this novels ends is by writing the rest. My vague outline at the start was based on fairy tales - the main character was going to end up visiting entities in the north, south, east and west to pull together their magic. And at 23,000 words? We still haven't finished going north yet. Obviously, there isn't going to be a south, east and west at this rate.

So where is it going? Honestly, I don't know. I expect that north and home again will be all. Nor do I know what they'll be facing once they get deeper into the cold wastelands. There will be stuff, but what? Hmm

:) So, onward I go, braving the unknown depths of my mind to find out what is lurking there.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNoWriMo snippet 5

The rest of the day went quietly enough. The donkeys were quiet patient beasts willing to follow the humans. The day was warm but there was a light breeze that was keeping the travellers fresh. It was some time before Onyx realised that his master was calling the breeze, just a small request.

At the end of the day, they reached a small settlement. “You wait here with the donkeys. I’ll go see if I can come to some sort of agreement about beds and food for the night.”

“Surely we should have a room for the night. What if it rains? We wouldn’t want to be sleeping in the open then.”

Master Dervin smiled. “Come on lad, use that brain of yours. Do you think I ever get wet unless I happen to want to?” Onyx suddenly remembered the day the bullies cornered him. There wasn’t a drop of water on his master, though the rest of the population was getting wetter by the minute. “The donkeys don’t mind rain though a big thunderstorm might spook them. So it’s only a small effort to keep the area for the two of us dry. I suspect though, this little place could use a bit of weather. We’ll see.”

He handed the lead rope of Lady Evelyn to Onyx and walked over to what was obviously the busiest building in town. And from the sounds drifting out, it had to be a tavern. Onyx waited standing patiently for some minutes when he noticed how sore his feet were. He envied the donkeys and their hard hooves. Since he had no idea how long his master would take, he decided to have a seat on a nearby barrel. The donkeys followed and soon Onyx was as comfortable as he could expect to be given he was still outside waiting.

Onyx was beginning to think he was going to fall asleep where he sat. Walking wasn’t that tiring but moving most of the day wasn’t something he was used to now. Finally he spotted Master Dervin returning from the tavern.

“Right, so we have a place for the donkeys to rest for the night, and we have a room and a bed for the night. Tomorrow I’ll earn our keep with a little magic.”

Onyx slid off the barrel and discovered how sore his feet were. He handed the lead for one donkey back to his master. “Donkeys first?”

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NaNoWriMo snippet 4

“We are going to start working toward you being able to summon weather when you want to. Instead of you accidentally calling weather when you’re scared or angry. The first exercise will help you harness the wind to your will.”

Master Dervin placed a leaf on the grass in front of them. “Now pay very close attention. A weather mage can sense when weather is being called but it’s quite hard to describe what you need to feel. So I’ll summon the wind to blow the leaf around, and you let me know when you can feel that I’m pulling on the wind.”

Onyx watched as his master called the wind to blow the leaf a number of times. The leaf went skittering away from them, toward them, to the left, to the right and even in a small circle. Master Dervin looked enquiringly at him and Onyx shook his head mutely. He had no sense of when the wind was being called.

Master Dervin stopped and thought for a few minutes. “You should be able to sense this. I’m not sure why you can’t. Maybe we should try it again. This time, close your eyes and keep them shut. If you can’t watch the leaf, you may be able to better sense the wind.”

Onyx closed his eyes. At first, he felt a small puff when the tiny breeze that Master Dervin summoned came close enough to feel. But after a few minutes, he realised that he could sense the wind even when it wasn’t dancing past his skin. The breeze was playfully chasing - ah, there was Master Dervin’s influence. “Master, I can feel it now. I can feel the wind and you.”

“Good, let’s just continue with that a bit. Keep your eyes shut and feel what I’m doing.”

Now that Onyx could feel Master Dervin, he quickly realised that his master was calling the wind several ways. One way felt like a gentle request and the answering puff of wind was soft relatively slow. One was an urgent demand, the wind went roaring in the desired direction. The playful chase was when Master Dervin sort of teased the wind into doing his will.

“So, apprentice, what have you noticed?”

“That you can summon that wind in different ways. And the answering breeze behaves differently depending on exactly how you summoned it.”

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NaNo Snippet 3

“Not a problem lad. It’s good to have some company for the trip. I’m Jim. You are the one bound for Skilopse?”

“Yes sir. It’s been a long trip.”

Jim smiled at the boy. “You only think that’s a long trip. I’ve heard of people traveling so far north, it’s always cold or so far east that there is a body of water so huge you can’t see the other side. Can you imagine?”

Onyx shook his head. A body of water too far to see across? That had to be some sort of folk tale. “I may be from a small place, but that’s just too much to believe. There can’t be enough water in the world that you can’t see to the other side.”

“Ah Onyx, the world is a bigger place then you might think. There are many strange things to see. We’ve carried some passengers from very different places. I’ve seen blue-skinned people from the sea, a deep dark brown from much sunnier climates and a man who was fire-red. Those I have seen myself.”
Man and boy waited for the other passengers to settle in the coach and the mail parcels and bags to be secured. Onyx found himself wondering if any of his fellow travellers today were also bound for Skilopse.

“A rather motley looking bunch of passengers, I’d say,” commented one of the people loading bags onto the coach. “Be careful Jim. It’s said that some robbers are active just outside of Skilopse over the past month.”

“It’s a mail coach, who’d want to steal a bunch of letters and trinkets? We’ll be fine.”

“Just sayin’, cause it’s better to be careful when it’s not needed then careless when care was needed.”

To Onyx, loading the coach took forever but they were on their way not long after dawn. Progress in Thirngo was slow, there were many farm wagons moving in the streets which were moving quite slowly. Onyx found the town to be so different then anything he was accustomed to.

NaNo progress report

It's definitely starting to go a little better and feel like it's mostly right instead of awkward as hell. Should make 14,000 words soon, which is a good thing.

A couple of my NaNo buddies are well past the 20,000 word mark. Ah well, I should at least catch up to where I should be - word count wise - by sometime next week at the latest.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

XXIT – A Short Sci-Fi Film

XXIT – A Short Sci-Fi Film:

XXIT from Stargate Studios on Vimeo.

A short sci-fi film with time travel, and a very “Blade-Runner” like future. Made by Stargate Studios, the people behind the visual effects of “The Walking Dead,” “Heroes,” “24″ and more.

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Just realised

NaNoWriMo is going to be my second novel. My first novel was written some time ago - never published and I have yet to finish retyping in chapter 3 more or less the rest of it.

And they would both be classified as children fantasy. Hmm, what does that say about me.

Then again, I love Garth Nix books and he mostly does children's fantasy. Dianne Wynn Jones.

And the NaNo novel has hit 11,000 words so far. That puts me rather below par for getting to the goal on time, they recon that you need 15,000 words to be on track. Still, it's day 9 so there is plenty of time to make it up. And the words are no longer fighting with me, it's slowly getting easier.

Monday, November 07, 2011

NaNo Snippet 2

Onyx woke the next day to the scent of porridge. He was still feeling a bit tired, it was more difficult to sleep well in a strange room with a man that snored. The man from the coach was still snoring away so Onyx decided he may as well have breakfast if he could.

“What ho, one of my coach guests appears so early?” A short round and rather happy looking man exclaimed.

“Yes sir. Is there breakfast please?” Onyx asked sniffing the air hungrily.

“Aren’t you a polite young man? What’s your name boy?” The innkeeper smiled at Onyx. He started dishing out a bowl of porridge from the large simmering pot.

“Onyx, sir.” The innkeeper topped the porridge with a generous spoon of honey and some fresh milk.
The innkeeper had finished with the bowl and set it on the wooden table. “Here you go, young Onyx. You can call me Bill. I take it that this is your first trip from home?”

Onyx grabbed the spoon and started eating. “Yes sir,” he noticed the innkeeper frown, “I mean Bill. How did you know?”

“Mostly your age. We don’t get many through here as young as you.” Bill looked at the rapidly disappearing porridge, “Nor as hungry,” he said with a laugh. “More, young Onyx?”

“No, thank you. But if you have some bread you can spare, that I can take along today?”

Bill disappeared for a moment, then returned with a small parcel. “I don’t normally do this, but most of the coach passengers are like the two with you. They think they deserve the best fare, and yet the coaches only pay a pittance for the overnight stay. Since you appreciate what I have to offer, I’ll give you just a bit more.” Bill sighed, “Still, I better get them up. The coach leaves in about an hour. None of us would be happy if it left without them.”

Sunday, November 06, 2011

NaNo progress - eh

I still haven't hit a good writing groove yet. I don't know if the story has a flaw that my brain hates or

The interwebs and Plants vs Zombies (iPad version) are just keeping me too entertained.

I am still making progress - the nano site thinks I should finish mid-December at my current writing pace. And one or two really good days will make a huge difference.

When will I get in good days though? I hope soon.

Friday, November 04, 2011

More Nano snippets???

I can't decide. Due to the underwhelming reaction from the first snippet, I am tempted to say no more.

But I'm a serial posting offender and the idea of NOT posting snippets - hmm.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

So, the other day, I bought the Sims 3 EP Pets

Even though I know it's going to be a couple of weeks before I can try and install it. I can't afford to add new stuff to my computer during the NaNo writeathon, at least not until I go on holiday in two weeks.
I did snag a special Limited Edition - which you were supposed to need to pre-order to get. Kind of funny, really.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

First NaNo snippet

(Nano snippets will be first and very rough drafts. Read at your own peril)

Coming of age in the village saw each child be apprenticed in some career. Many stayed on the family farm, a few would be chosen to apprentice to the village baker, miller, or blacksmith. Each of those was considered an honoured profession and one well worth growing into.

But Onxy caused some special issues. His talent for causing special weather grew stronger with age, but his control remained hopelessly inadequate.

“Onxy,” said the elder. “You need more than this village can give you. We have found a teacher for you, a weather mage. He lives in Skilopse.”

“Getting you to Skilopse is something that we’ve been deeply considering. It will do no one good if you fail to arrive.”

“So we have decided to purchase you a place on the mail coach, due in three days time. It will take another 4 days to arrive in Skilopse.”

“Once you are there, you must seek out the house of Dervin, he is the weather mage we have found. Dervin has already agreed to your apprenticeship assuming that you too are a weather mage.”

“But we don’t know that I am a weather mage, not at this point.”

“The wind and water answer your call, whether you desire it or not. And if you have no control over them.”

Onxy thought back to the summer. He had been terribly in love with Daisy, a nice girl on a neighbouring farm. One day, he found Daisy had a second boyfriend, and he wanted to lash out at his rival. In an instant, a bolt of lightning nearly struck the couple as they lie in the grass kissing.

Since that fateful Daisy had no boyfriends that Onxy had heard of. She also steadfastly refused to remain in his presence for more than a few moments. Onxy tried to approach her while she was chatting with some friends, but he could never get that close before one of them would exclaim, “Watch it, dunder thunderhead is here, let’s go.”

“Wait, I just wanted to…”

“Dunderhead, thunderhead, he’s such a blunderhead.” The girls would sing as they danced out of sight.

“I just wanted to say I was sorry. Why can’t they listen!” as Onxy’s temper rose, so did the wind. It tore nearly a half of the ripening fruit off the branches of a nearby apple tree. Daisy’s father, owner of the tree, rushed out.