Posts Tagged ‘writing’

I haven’t posted much for a while, for a number of reasons.  I’d been studying full time most of last year.  Then three months ago I got married and moved across country, which was a big change to the system.  I’m now settling into the new life, and with 2014 just starting, are making plans for the coming year.  Program subject to change as they say.

One of my early projects is to tidy up this and my other blogs, to get them running again.  I plan to make this one more of a general interest bog, while the others are focused on writing.

As for writing, this year I am aiming ludicrously high.  If I fail, it will still result in a good output.  My main aim is to do the million word challenge.  That is, to write 1,000,000 words over the course of 2014.  It sounds a lot, but works out to around 2740 words per day, which is manageable.  To help this, I am breaking it down into 3 blocks per day.

Block 1: 500 words/day on the setting master document for a new epic fantasy series I want to write.  The setting master document will cover the setting, history, characters, plots and so on for the series, and by years end should be around 180,000 words in length.  More on that one in the future.

Block 2: 1000 words/day of new drafts. This is the writing of first drafts for new stories.  Very rough, getting down the core of the stories.

Block 3: 1500 words/day of rewrites.  Taking old and rough drafts, I will rewrite them, tidy them up, flesh out their skeletons and make them readable.

Depending on work/study/other commitments, these are rough guidelines.  Some days I may do more, others less.

That is the word count done.

I am planning to temporarily pull down my stories, fix them up and re-release them with new covers etc, along with a whole heap of new stories.  By the years end I hope to have 56 short stories/novelettes/novellas and 3 short novels up.  Of those I have 24 short stories and 1 short novel done.  So by that count I need to write 32 new short stories and 2 short novels.

It’ll be a challenge, but unless I set myself one I won’t aim for anything.

Hopefully I’ll provide weekly, or at least monthly, updates.

The story that I have been working on over at wattpad for some time is now complete.

Stormraven comes in at around 65,000 words, a bit longer than I expected than when I started.

It can be read here.

At some stage I will have to clean it up and turn it inot an e-book – and work on the follow up stories.

Pantsing vs Plotting

Posted: May 21, 2013 in writing
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When it comes to writing, there are two main ways of doing it – pantsing vs plotting.  Each is a perfectly viable method, depending on the person involved.  What works for one doesn’t work for another.

Pantsing (or seat-of-your-pants writing) is when a writer has little to no idea of the plot of the story and just sits down and writes, seeing where the story and characters takes them.  At the other end of the scale is plotting, where often detailed notes are made before the story has even started, mapping every aspect of it out.  You can even do a bit of both, to varying degrees.

For examples of plotting there are these two images.

 

That is the plotting done for Catch 22 by Joseph Heller.

That one is for The Order of the Phoenix by JK Rowlings.

I’ve tried out both styles.  Tears of the Mountain was done by plotting – I still have all the noted pinned to a corkboard.  The rest have mostly come by pantsing, with some elements of plotting.  I may make a few rough notes, but in general, the story goes where it will.

Back in 1978, George Lucas and Steven Spielberg sat down to brainstorm out the script for Raiders of the Lost Ark.  The whole process was taped, and those taped have now been transcribed into a PDF.  At 90 pages long, it isn’t a short read, but its is an intriguing look into how to the movie script came about, and escpecially for those of us who are writers.

The whole PDF can be viewed here.

The first annoucement that is coming out of the changes previously announced is a new blog – Of Dust and Gold.  This is a collaborative project between my fiance and I, based on a steampunk setting we are planning to write in.

The website is still in the very early stages of construction, but will be regularly update, wtih a serialised story starting to appear soon, we hope.

Of Dust and Gold centres around an old tramp freighter airship, Aria, and her eccletic crew, as they travel a region modelled on the Colonial Australia gold-rushes, with a steampunk flavour to it.  Hence why I found the old gold rush photos so interesting, and relevant.

We hope to give it a really Australian feel, which is somewhat different to most current steampunk.

As someone with a bit of a historical bent, I found the following most fascinating.

In 1951, a collection of 3500 glass plate negatives from the nineteenth century were found.  Digitally scanned, they can now be viewed and give glimpsed of what life was like back in 1872 and in the Gold Rush towns of Australia.

They can be viewed here, and a video about them viewed here.

The timing of finding this is rather intriguing, as there is a project I am working on that touches on aspects of this, and one of the characters just happens to be interested in photography, and would be using similar devices as took these photos.

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From my earliest days, I have always been fascinated with exploration.  While that does include physical exploration, it is not the whole of it.  I am as much intrigued by the concept of it, the history of it, the future of it.

Lets put this in perspective.  There has been talk about the prospects of a manned trip to or colony on Mars.  For the later, it is pretty much a one way trip.  Chances are you will be there for a minimum of many years.  If asked I wouldn’t hesitate to say yes – though my fiancée may have words to me about that.

The prospect of being the first to step anywhere that no one has been before, to boldly go, to explore new worlds and lands, that appeals to me.  Whether it be the sailing the seas during the Age of Exploration, or colonising an alien planet, I would have loved to have been there and done it.  Sadly it seems I live in a period of time where there isn’t much left to explore – yet.  We’ve explored most of Earth and haven’t quite managed to make it to the next step.

It does also influence my gaming choices – I prefer games where exploration and building are at the heart of it, going out into new lands, finding new things nad places.  Games like Civisilation, Master of Orion, The Elder Scrolls, Mass Effect (mostly the first one though), Age of Empires, Total War and ones of a similar ilk.

And it does heavily influence my writing as well.  That is largely why I write – so that I can explore strange new worlds, to go places that haven’t been visited before, except in my mind, and to share them with other people.  That is what exploration is all about, going new places and sharing what you have discovered.  And fantasy and sci-fi are two of the best genres to do that in.

And maybe, someday when I’m old and they have found a way to visit alien planets, I may even get to step foot on somewhere new and see sights no one has seen before me.

8 New and Necessary Punctuation Marks

Posted: February 22, 2013 in General
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Over on CollegeHumor comes this post about 8 new and necessary puncation marks we need. I know I’d use some of them, such as The Sinceroid and the Sarcastises.

The story that I started working on for NaNoWriMo, Stormraven, I am now starting to release as a serial over on wattpad.

For those who do not know about wattpad, it is a site where writers and readers come together to share stories. I have a number of my free stories available there. For me it is another way of trying to raise awareness of my stories.

The plan is to release a new chapter each week, and once it is concluded, to release the whole story via the normal means.

Stormraven can be read here. Feel free to vote and comment. 🙂

This year I had a real crack at doing NaNoWriMo, the National Novel Writing Month.  The aim of it is to write a 50,000 word novel in a month.  I fell a bit short, making 42,000 words.  Still, not a bad effort given the last couple of weeks were spent on doing the final major project for the course I am doing, so it understandably took priority.  The story I am calling Stormraven, and is the introductory story to a fantasy series in the work.  It was always meant to be a novella length story rather than a full novel, so it fitted in well with NaNoWriMo.  Hopefully it wont take too long to finish off.