Wednesday, November 17, 2010

4 Things to do when your NaNo Novel gets stuck

1) Kill some one. Works like a charm ;-)

2) Send the main characters back to November 1492 England. Why there? Why then? I have no idea, that's what you have to find out.

3) Have your main character start singing "99 bottles of pop on the wall", Keep repeating until you come up with something better.

4) Abandon your main characters and follow the story of the time traveling squirrels that live under the porch.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Earning Talent

Talent is an interesting thing. A gift given to a certain number of people in a broad range of fields. I always used to think of talent as something that you either had or you didn't. But the more I look at it the more I think that there are actually two different kinds of talent: the given kind and the earned.

I have (if I may be so bold to say) "given" talent in art and painting (though it's gotten rusty from disuse lately). I understand the ease that this kind of talent brings. Yes, I had to take lessons and practice, but none of it ever seemed very hard. I understood everything the teacher told me and could both execute their teachings as well as transfer it to other projects. When I was younger I thought everyone could do what I did. Then I saw how much some of my fellow students struggled and realized that this was not so.

Then I started writing.

I do not have "given" talent for writing. My first stories sucked. Seriously, they were bad. Hollow characters, clich├ęs, bad grammar, the works. And it doesn't help that I'm dyslexic and couldn't spell my way out of a paper bag. But despite the difficulties writing was something I enjoyed and was something I wanted to better myself in.

The first writing class I took I found that I was one of those students that "just didn't get it." I saw how many of the others in the class got "ah! I see." moments while I sat embarrassed, hiding my confused and badly spelled notes.

For a while I retreated back to art where I felt safe, but it wasn't long before I heard the Siren's call of a new story whispering in my ear. That was when I decided that even if I didn't have "given" talent I was still going to write, and in deciding this I discovered "earned" talent.
Earned talent isn't the easy way. Nothing ever seems to work out right the first time and you always seem to need to do things over and over again before a concept sticks. That isn't the talent part. The talent is perseverance.

You may struggle with each and every thing, but the very fact that you are struggling, that you are trying, is proof that you do have this kind of talent. Earned talent is the talent of not giving up. The talent of pressing on even if it seems like nothing is happening. The talent of persevering.
That is the kind of talent that I am trying to cultivate in my writing. Over the years it has gotten easier, but I still struggle and I will continue to struggle forward.

Even if the road takes longer than with given talent, in the end, it still leads to the same place.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

8 things you lose during NaNoWriMo

1. Sanity
Lets face it people, we're listening to the voices in our head and doing what they are telling us to do. Then again, they do seem to have really good ideas...

2. A normal sleep rhythm
1,667 words can be a lot sometimes. School/work/family all seem to conspire to get in the way. So when all else fails, what is the easiest thing to carve some time from? Sleep! (It's over ratted anyway). Just be sure to stock up on makeup to hide the dark circles under your eyes.

3. A balanced diet
A piece of toast and three cups of coffee for breakfast, a handful of cheerios, two cheese sticks and 20 cups of coffee for lunch and whatever you can find in the pantry for dinner (and maybe a few more cups of coffee). What's wrong with that?

4. The ability to speak to real live people
They say things you didn't tell them to. They don't use speaking tags. It's bazaar." I said to anyone reading this blog.

5. Hygiene
Shower? Are you kidding? I don't have time, I'm typing!

6. The ability to care about spelling and grammar
Who do care anny way? Word count is word count.

7. Shame
His sword can shine in a fabulously brilliantly blindingly awesome charismaticly bazaar and definitely manlyish way if I want it to.

8. The ability to form coherent sentences
Like if I some care, no!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Falling behind (again)

Monday snuck up on me and I'm behind on my NaNoWriMo word count. So no Weapon of the Week post today :-( Hopefully I can get my act together soon here.

Back to typing!

funny pictures-De-Caff?
see more Lolcats and funny pictures

Friday, November 5, 2010

Surviving NaNo: Secret Word Wars

By now most of us know the wonders of a deadline. The rush to get things done by a cretin time, when we would have normally put it off for another day. That's the wonder of NaNoWriMo. It gives you that deadline. But there's another tool you can use to boost your word count within NaNo.

The desire to beat someone else.

Now I don't usually use this tactic when I'm face to face with someone at a write-in. Mostly because I suck at writing in public, but when I'm at home I do use my NaNoWriMo buddy list as a kind of score board.

Normally I start the day with one word count goal in mind, then when I finish it I look at my buddy list. Is there someone on there who's only a few hundred words above what I have? I can beat that! *writes out words and looks at the list again* Dang they updated and are ahead of me. *writes some more to get ahead of them* Ooo, I’m close to the next persons count. I could beat them too.

On and on until by the end of the day I've written twice as many words as I had been planning on writing. Of course I don't actually tell them that I'm "word warring" with them (I prefer to do a sneak attack while they're not looking). You can if you want to, but I like being sneaky ;-)

Perhaps it's just my competitive nature, but this always works wonders for me in November.

P.S. By the way, good luck to those setting off on this adventure that is NaNoWriMo. I'll add your name to my hit list- er, buddy list ;-)

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

9 Tips for B movie characters

1) If you're walking with a group of friends in a dark scary forest and one of them turns around and says "Hay, where did everyone else go?" That's your cue to run.

2) I don't care how much you need the money, don't steal from a wizard.

3) Never trust the old guy who appears out of the forest promising to lead you out.

4) Beautiful, mysterious women are always trouble.

5) Always be respectful of your elders. Just because they look old and wrinkly doesn't mean that they can't wipe the floor with you.

6) If a local tells you "oh, that's a bad place" change your travel plans and don't go there.

7) If your friend runs back to camp out of breath and wide eyes saying there are monsters in the woods, don't laugh at him/her and got out there just to prove them wrong.

8) If a stranger is looking for new companions to go hiking with, find out what what happened to his previous companions before agreeing to join him.

9) If it seems too easy it's always a trap.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Point: Using the right weapon for the right location

I've decided to add to my Monday line up. Alternating between Weapon of the Week and The Point (I'll come up with a better name for it later [maybe]).

This weeks Point is on using the right weapon for the right environment.

Imagine, if you will, a big burly man with a long sword facing a smaller man with a long knife in a huge open field. Unless the man with the long sword is a total idiot, the man with the knife doesn't stand a chance against the reach of the long sword.

Now imagine the same two fighters in the middle of a tangled jungle, vines hanging down from above, thick bushes pressing in on all sides. Now it's the man with the long sword who's in trouble. With the length of his sword, he can't swing it in a close confined area like that. The man with the knife just has to wait for him to get tangled and move in.

It would be the same on a ship or some other cramped space. That's why cutlasses were short, because they were designed to be used on ships where a longer sword could get caught in the rigging.

So when you go to chose a sword for your hero (or heroine), be sure to take into account the environment you are going to have them fighting in and how effective you want them to be.