Tag Archives: creative writing

Doing NaNoWriMo this year!

29 Oct

I’m participating in the National Novel Writing Month challenge this year, which will be held in the month of November 2011. The goal is to write 50,000 words, resulting into a first draft of a novel.

I have no plan, no environment, no plot, no characters, only a vague idea. As I write this blog post, I have about two days left to come up with something of an idea.

I don’t expect the result to be any good; I expect it to suck, big time. But that’s ok, because it’s about writing 50,000 words in a month, not about redrafting and making it ready for publication. That would take at least six months, I guess (I never written a book, so I don’t know). I think that almost nothing of what I write in this first draft will survive the editing process. I don’t even expect the final result to be in the same genre!

Since it’s about volume, bulk, I don’t care about these things. I’m excited, because my novel can become whatever it wants to be, not what I will it to be. Usually, when I write a blog post about a subject I care about deeply, it turns out crap, because I want it to be perfect. I should avoid such subjects like the plague. I suppose this applies to novel writing as well.

I will be using Scrivener as my writing tool. Especially the project targets window seems important to get me through the challenge. It’s 1667 words per day, every day, after all. I’ll be setting my initial target at 2000 words per day, so I’ll have some leeway at the end.

Anyway, I’ve created a novel entry, with the provisional title “Evil Lurks Upstairs”, in the provisional genre mystery, thriller and suspense. My NaNoWriMo page can be found here.

All this means that I won’t be posting much on this blog during the next month. Not that I’ve been posting much anyway. I was preoccupied with preparing myself for a marathon road race in December 2011.

Ooh, the challenges we set for ourselves. They seem so unattainable, so unrealistic: A first draft of a novel in a month and getting into to shape to finish a marathon race.

Ah well, such is life. We try hard, hoping something will ultimately stick.

Thanks for reading!

Advertisements

Writing assignment # 2

29 May

Here is my second writing assignment, for this week (May 30 – June 3, 2011). It was not hard to come up with. If I would have a problem, I could always refer to Writing Excuses, an excellent podcast for creative writers, which is only 15 minutes long, because we have no more time, and they aren’t that smart (in their own words). I could also scour the web for a writing assignment someone else wrote, although this takes a lot of time (as scouring usually does).

Written Pages 2011 05 29 23 23 51

I wonder if you have good resources for writing assignments. If you do, please writing about it in the comments.

P.S. I you don’t know what “Takei lovers are”, watch this video by George Takei, of Star Trek fame, with the title: George Takei vs. Tennessee’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill. I thinks it’s both funny and very serious.

Weekly writing assignment

29 May

The idea was to have a writing assignment, so I could write every day, well, work on storytelling every day. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen, but I did write several days of past week.

Here’s the assignment, handwritten on my iPad.

Qjaox

I wrote three versions. Version 1 I had already put on my blog, so I’ll put versions 2 and 3 in this post.

Version 2

Hank was fed up with always being the underdog. He knew Jim was stronger and Peter smarter, but still he wanted to win this round. When Jim did his snatching trick and was ready to pass the ball, Hank simply stayed very close to Peter. So he got the ball. But how was he supposed to reach the top of the hill? He passed the ball back to Jim.

“What’s up,” asked Peter. “I don’t like this game,” answered Hank, “I always play second fiddle.” Hank sat down and Peter joined him. Jim walked toward them and said: “This is no fun.” “No it isn’t. What do we do now,” asked Peter. “Let’s tell a story,” Hank said in excitement.

A dragon slayer was called in to save a princess, held captive by a ferocious dragon. When he met with the king, he saw a wizard already present. They would both try to save the princess, and whoever succeeded, got to marry her.

The dragon slayer attacked head on. He rushed towards the dragon, but couldn’t defeat it. “Keep the dragon busy and I will put a sleeping spell on it,” shouted the wizard from outside the dragon’s lair. “If he falls asleep he’ll block the passage and we’ll never get the princess out,” shouted the slayer back. “Well, then grab the princess, fight the dragon for as long as you can while I do my chanting,” shouted the wizard over the sound of the roaring dragon, which was clearly ready to strike the final blow and kill his opponent. “Alright,” the slayer shouted. He grabbed the girl and pushed her outside the cave.

“So long, suckers,” shouted Hank, while he held the princess-ball firmly in his hands.

He stood on top of the hill.

Version 3

A storm was brewing. “Shouldn’t we be going home,” Hank asked. “We’ll do fine,” said Peter, trying to reassure his friend. “Yeah, let’s play,” shouted Jim. They threw the ball in the air and… it didn’t return. It seemed like it had vanished.

“Where is the ball,” asked Jim, looking at Peter. “How would I know,” said Peter, “I’m as baffled as you are.” Hank shivered and said: “I don’t like this. Let’s go home.” “Not until I have my ball back,” said Peter. “What he said,” said Jim, “and I want to win this time. We stay!”

They heard a loud sharp noise, getting louder and sharper. They jumped away from where they stood. Suddenly there was a crash and mud sprayed on their faces. Something had fallen out of the sky and it surely wasn’t their ball.

There was a golden egg, with its pointed side clearly visible. When they slowly walked towards it, it started to crack. “What the…,” said Jim, but before he could end his sentence, the egg had cracked open and out crawled a pink animal. It looked like a …

“Dragon,” shouted Hank in excitement, “a baby dragon.” The dragon turned red in its face, then purple and started to make choking noises. “I go watched this on top of the hill, safe from that, that monster!”

While Jim walked away, Peter said to Hank: “I think it has to burp. You hold it and I pat it on it back.” So they did. The baby dragon burped, but not just a burp, but a small flame, like a cigarette lighter. It spread its wings and flew to Jim. As Jim was trying to catch it, it had turned into a ball.

Jim stood on top of the hill.

Now you can ask yourself why put this rough writing on your blog? Well, I do have a problem with keeping to a schedule. I should have gone to the dentist more than a year ago, but for some reason I keep finding excuses not to go. So I need something to trick my mind (for the dentist, put it on my calendar to make an appointment, with an alert 30 minutes before).

We keep finding excuses, so we need a way to hack around our mind’s limitations (the lizard brain hates changes and prefers a status quo). There are other reasons why it’s hard for me personally, but I won’t get into that, because it’s personal.

Once I’ve written the next assignment on my little iPad, I’ll create a new blog post. This will be later today, or early tomorrow, depending on how creative I feel. Point is that I have Monday through Friday to do something with storytelling, and for now use the weekends to somewhat recover.

I curious, what ways have you found around procrastination, other than what I’m doing (blogging about it)? Feel free to tell me about it in the comments, so we can learn more about strategies to keep going, despite lack of motivation.

Story analysis of He-Man, Day Of The Machines

27 Jan

Here’s the work flow I used to analyze the story of the He-Man episode “Day of the Machines” (Season 2, episode 3).

I first watched the entire video and wrote down what I observed as important events. Sometimes I had to go back to put in events I forgot to mention. I left out as many embellishment as possible, and tried to stick to events that were related to story.


Next I wrote synopses for each part, trying to leave out information that wasn’t absolutely necessary.

I used that to describe the plot in even less words, and write a synopsis on that as well.

I used the latter synopsis to formulate the general story idea (logline or one-liner), stripped of all identity, just the story information, things that make it sound interesting and exciting.

A planet’s trusted main engineer risks his reputation over an essential experiment that an evil alien warlord is determined to secretly sabotage.

The theme of the story was easy to find. It is said at the end by the good guys: “If you do your best, you can never fail.”

The characters weren’t too hard as well. Basically, there is Man-at-Arms as the story lead character, He-Man as his friend and companion, Teela as the mentor, and Skeletor as the scheming evil-doer. The story arc is about Man-at-Arms learning that you can only do your best, and never reach perfection. The rest of the characters are pretty much static.

The conflict was easy to distill as well, it involves Man-at-Arms putting his reputation at risk in pursuit of perfection, and Skeletor trying to take advantage of it.

The point of view is, as usual, omniscient limited, which means it is told in the third person, who doesn’t know everything.

The setting is pretty straightforward too. Planet Eternia, in a world where magic, technology, feudalism and barbarian rites are intermixed. The story start in a happy mood, and returns to that state after the story arc is done.

What follows is what I did with the plot, including the logline as I see it.

—– (first and second round)

Part 1

Man-at-Arms fails at an RC experiment and just want to forget about it. His friends convince him to continue, and he will give it one last try. If he fails, he will resign from his job.

Meanwhile Skeletor has spied on the conversation, and decides to use trickery to make sure the next RC experiment fails and Man-at-Arm has to quit. He plants a miniature monster in the palace computer, so it can wreak havoc on the palace and Man-at-Arms will get the blame.

Synopsis

Man-at-Arms says he will resign if he fails at his next RC computer experiment. Skeletor having overheard this, makes an electronic demon and beams it in the palace computer, so it will wreak havoc and Man-at-Arms will get the blame.

Part 2

The mini-monster has taken over the RC computer, and while Man-at-Arms and his friends are doing another RC test, they get ambushed by machines controlled by the mini-monster. He-Man appears and saves his friends.

They decide to take a look at the computer, to see what’s wrong, however the door is closed. After He-Man breaks it open and enters the computer room, he gets attacked by the machine, put there to defend the mini-monster.

They retreat and decide to do two things. Man-at-Arms will disable the power, so the RC computer becomes powerless, and Teela will visit Skeletor on Battlecat to find out if he is somehow sabotaging.

Man-at-Arms shrinks himself so he can slip by the defences and enter the computer.

Meanwhile Teela has arrived at Skeletor’s place and He-Man is battling the machines gone crazy. After He-Man is done, he goes looking for Man-at-Arms.

Teela slips into Skeletor’s command center and hears one of Skeletor’s goons tell the plan. She quickly leaves unnoticed to tell the others what she has learned.

Man-at-Arms finds the mini-monster, but gets captured by it.
Teela is back at the palace and tells He-Man about Skeletor’s plan to use an electric demon inside the computer to control the palace machines. They need Man-at-Arms for a shrinking ray, but he is nowhere to be found. He-Man decides to go to the Sorceress for help.

The Sorceress turns He-Man small and delivers him as a falcon at the computer, which he enters.

Synopsis

When the palace machines act hostile, Man-at-Arms, Teela and He-Man decide to do something about it. Man-at-Arms shrinks himself to a small size, enters the computer, but gets capture by the demon. Teela goes spying on Skeletor and finds out his evil plan. He-Man tries to fight the machines to avoid any damage.

When Teela tells He-Man of Skeletor’s plan, he let’s himself shrink by the Scorceress and enters the computer.

Part 3

Inside the computer He-Man tries to find Man-at-Arms and to defeat the electric demon.

After He-Man has freed Man-at-Arms, they go to the demon. He-Man battles it, but it gets away through the wires.

Then it dawns on Man-at-Arms what the demon’s weakness is, and how they capture it. After they’ve done so they send it back to Skeletor, so he can enjoy it presence, and doesn’t use it again.

Using the shrinking ray in reverse, He-Man and Man-at-Arms have returned to normal size. Teela argues that Man-at-Arms wasn’t to blame for the malfunctioning RC computer, and that Skeletor made use of Man-at-Arms discouragement. Man-at-Arms acknowledges his temporary weakness, and that next time he shouldn’t give up so easily, because things aren’t perfect. Teela argues that Man-at-Arms did his best, and that that’s all what can be expected from someone.

The group concludes that if you do your best, you can never be a failure.

Synopsis

Inside the computer He-Man frees Man-at-Arms and together they capture the demon. They send it to Skeletor’s computer, so Skeletor will never use it again.

The group concludes that Man-at-Arms wasn’t to blame after all, because he did his best. They say that if you do your best, you can never be a failure.

—– (third round)

Part 1

Introduction

Man-at-Arms does some RC experiment, which fails miserably. He says he will resign if he fails at his next RC computer experiment, because it has to be perfect; there is no room for error.

Conflict

Skeletor having overheard this, makes an electronic demon and beams it in the palace computer, so it will wreak havoc and Man-at-Arms will get the blame.

[Point of no return, action begins]

Part 2

Rising Action

When the palace machines act hostile, Man-at-Arms, Teela and He-Man decide to do something about it. Man-at-Arms shrinks himself to a small size, enters the computer, but gets capture by the demon. Teela goes spying on Skeletor and finds out his evil plan. He-Man tries to fight the machines to avoid any damage.

When Teela tells He-Man of Skeletor’s plan, he let’s himself shrink by the Scorceress and enters the computer.

[Point of no return, problem has to be solved]

Part 3

Climax

Inside the computer He-Man frees Man-at-Arms and together they capture the demon.

Falling Action

They send it to Skeletor’s computer, so Skeletor will never use it again.

Denouement

The group concludes that Man-at-Arms wasn’t to blame after all, because he did his best. They say that if you do your best, you can never be a failure.

—– (fourth round)

Plot Synopsis

Man-at-Arms wants to be perfect at a computer experiment, but fails. Skeletor wants him to fail utterly and plants a demon in the palace computer.

While battling the machines, Man-at-Arms gets trapped inside the computer, and Teela finds out about Skeletor’s plan and tells it to He-Man, who goes into the computer as well.

Man-at-Arms and He-Man battle the demon, defeat it and send it back to Skeletor’s computer. Man-at-Arms has learned that he can only do his best, not be perfect.

—– (fifth round)

Logline

A planet’s trusted main engineer risks his reputation over an essential experiment that an evil alien warlord is determined to sabotage.