I am not lost…

October 31, 2016

NANOWRIMO IS COMING: The Final Days

So here we are, Wrimos. It’s Hallowe’en (happy holiday! I’m probably at work while you read this, lol) and we are mere hours away from the first of November and the beginning of the crazy journey that is the National Novel Writing Month. Are you ready? Have you prepared enough, have your girded your pants enough, have you stockpiled enough random treats to last you a month locked away in your office?

…I know I haven’t. But we’ve got (maybe) the start of a plot, a character, and a setting. I’d like to take these last few hours to do some final checks and reminders before we blast off into NaNo-Space.

(The theme this year is astronauts. Did you know that? So cool.)

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October 28, 2016

NANO FICTION FRIDAY: The War Veteran and the Child

So this is actually a piece from my first residency in grad school, so it’s just shy of four years old at this point. I haven’t edited it at all (save for one word I added in just before posting it, because I’m not sure why it wasn’t there to begin with) and so I figured hey, let’s show off a first draft. I’ve always been pleased with this little short, and I don’t know what else to do with it.

So. In workshop, we were given the prompt: “Two strangers meet and one or both are changed. Use one adult and one child as the only characters.” Beneath the cut is what I came up with. Enjoy!

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October 24, 2016

NANOWRIMO IS COMING: Written in Stone

Of course, that title isn’t to insinuate that once you write something during November, you can never take it back. (Gods forbid, because I can’t imagine any of my stories staying there. Ugh.) But no, this is one of the other “rules” of NaNoWriMo that I’ve found people have the hardest time doing: not editing. Not going back and reading everything before you write again. Not fine-tuning every paragraph until it’s perfect, just the way you want it. Not writing three pages and then deciding you don’t like where it’s going and just deleting it all.

It’s not allowed. Inasmuch as anything is disallowed for NaNo, that’s one of them:¬†do not delete your words. Some people go so far as to say that if you misspell something, you shouldn’t even delete that. Rumors of people disabling their delete key altogether. (I’m not quite that severe but…) So what does that mean for preparing?

Well…sometimes you need to get yourself ready for that kind of thing. And that means having a way to battle the Editor when it comes.

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October 21, 2016

NANO FICTION FRIDAY: Paint the Picture

So I’ve been working on a little bit of an idea for a new project–not my NaNo project, but a more long-term slow-build one–and I’ve been in need of a setting. Since we all know how well I do with planning, I’m going to see if I can take the few threads I’ve come up with and work some magic on them here for this post. So if it’s rough….well, you’ll know why.

For as long as anyone could remember, there had been a wall at the base of the hill, high enough that not even the most skilled climbers could conquer it. Guarded day and night, the denizens of the hill kept their watch, guarding those inside…from those left outside. Only a select few could ever cross through the gate: merchants, messengers, those who had business on both sides. All were closely watched; all were kept in line.

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October 17, 2016

NANOWRIMO IS COMING: Wait, Where Are We?

So now that we’ve talking about building a character, let’s chat a little about your setting. There’s really two pieces to this that I’ve seen: the world you’ve built, and how you introduce that world to your readers. These are two of the places that I’ve struggled the most in my writing, so a lot of what I can tell you is what I’ve heard others say to me when I was struggling.

(If you really want some in-depth world-building help, I’ll point you to one of my friend’s blogs at the end of the post. She’s really the champ of this.)

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October 14, 2016

NANO FICTION FRIDAY: Dana Cantrell

So let’s take the character from Monday’s adventure, and start throwing him into some mess, shall we? You’ll see as I start to write this how quickly the rest of the world begins to form around him, how setting and character and plot start to get all jumbled up together. I’ve tried to keep this fairly firmly on Dana himself, but…well, it’s hard when there’s no mirror around. At least, I don’t think there is…

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The door slammed shut behind me, the dark and silence inside worlds more welcoming than the howling chaos outside. What the hell is happening? I couldn’t see where I’d been running; I didn’t know how far from the house I’d gotten. Had I actually gotten away from the house? Looking around, I wasn’t with anyone, as far as I could tell. The tiny little room was entirely devoid of people. I could just make out the edges of some shelves, but aside from that…I was alone.

Alone and the world was falling apart around me. Why did that feel like the story of my life?

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October 10, 2016

NANOWRIMO IS COMING: Who Am I This Time?

I’ve used that title for so many things over the years, and I’m never going to get tired of it. The origin is a Kurt Vonnegut story by the same name, about a man with little personality of his own but when he’s given a part in a play, he becomes utterly immersed into the character from beginning of rehearsal until closing night. It’s how I’ve described my style of adapting to jobs; I walk in and determine who I’m supposed to be…and then play the part. Morning person? I am absolutely not, but if you need me to be, I will be smiling and happy at six a.m. for you.

So when people ask me, “Hey Rion, which comes first? The plot or the character?” the answer for me is simple.

There is no story, if there is no one to carry it forward.

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October 7, 2016

Fiction Friday: No Plot, No Problem…?

So since Monday’s post focused on pants versus plot, I was a little lost as to what to write for my fiction post today. However, my lovely friend Lyn leapt to the rescue, and offered writing about someone who’s pantsing it, and someone who’s plotting. Given that I only have one extant character who’s ever done NaNo… It’s time for y’all to meet (or possibly re-meet) Gannon Cutel. He’s a friend of Jade’s from¬†Rather Large Puddle, he’s a figure skater who’s very focused on creative writing, and if he has to say one more time that he’s straight, he’s going to punch something. So let’s let Jade and Gannon chat a bit, hm? This is from Jade’s POV.

I peeked in the library, the last place I could think of that Gan might have tucked himself away in. Sure enough, in the back corner study desk, curled over a notebook, I could just see the shock of dusty blonde hair I knew had to be his.

“Hey you,” I said, leaning on the wall to the desk. He started, dropping his pen, and I laughed. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you. Writing a horror?”

“I…no, not quite.” He straightened his glasses. “I’m still working on that part.”

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October 3, 2016

NANOWRIMO IS COMING: Pants vs. Plot

One of the first things anyone will likely tell you about NaNoWriMo is the title of the book Chris Baty wrote specifically for the preparation time: No Plot, No Problem! It’s the core of what gets pushed about the National Novel Writing Month, that you can walk in with absolutely nothing and you can still win. You can get to that 50,000 mark.

But sometimes it’s not that easy. Sometimes you need something to work with. And that’s the first thing to look at, before you write a single word: are you a pantser…or a plotter?

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