Tuesday, April 29, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week 6

And I'm once again behind. But this time, I have a good reason that I will tell you all about on Wednesday. As for my writing, I am nowhere near where I wanted to be. My new goal for the challenge is to just have a finished, organized first draft by the end of it. And at this rate, I may rethink the organized part. In the process of recreating my spreadsheet for Camp Nano (I'll explain why I had to do that on Wednesday) I discovered that there were four days in April that I never even opened Ywriter. Now, one of them is probably actually the day I wrote the scene summary that got eaten, and therefore another one might be the day I spent backing up my back-ups. But I have no idea what was up with the other two. I admit that I did not write anything on Easter. I kind of expected that to happen, though. I've lowered my goal for Camp Nano to 50k, and I'm currently working on scene summaries, that I'm counting towards that. That may seem like cheating to Nano purists, but right now my goal is more about getting the thing finished than an actual word count, anyway. And the scene summaries are vital to that, since they're how I'm going to put this story in order once I have a (semi)complete rough draft. I had to put the "semi" in there, because I'm sure that there are whole scenes that I skipped, but I won't know that until I have this better organized.

Now, on to this week's question. "What do you do when your current writing project no longer holds your attention like it used to? What do you do when that shiny new idea cries out for you?" Honestly, I never imagined that this would be a question I would have an answer for. At least not while working on this project. But it's been going on for soooo long, now. And I now have notes and even a few random scenes for future books in the series written. Which is what I do. I'll write enough that I know I won't forget this great idea and then go back to my current project. I now have a couple scenes for Magic's Curse (Book 4) written, along with notes on the plot of that one and Magic's Return (Book 5).

And that's it for today, I think.  Come back on Wednesday for  the latest in the saga of my stupid computer, and on Friday  for my next check-in where I'll tell what kind of writer I am.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

What's in a name, part 2 - naming characters

I know I said I was going to write a review of Aeon Timeline today, but I haven't done enough playing on it to be able to do that. Maybe that will be next week's post. So, instead I'm going to talk about something we were talking about on Twitter yesterday - character names.

I am a goof when it comes to naming characters, I admit that. I changed Catie's name like three times. It wasn't until I started calling her Catie in my head instead of Mia that I knew I had her real name. Eli, on the other hand, was always Eli. Though I did change his last name because his original last name just didn't seem to fit his station in life. A former Duke with the last name "Bennet"? Not so much. Other names just jumped out at me, and I ran with them. I think the funniest in terms of where it came from is Adam. What better name for someone that is so old even HE doesn't remember how old he is than the supposed first name EVER? Some of the characters have a joke that for all they know he's THE Adam. My muse periodically jokes that if we ever pair Adam off, we should name his girlfriend Eve. It's times like that that I wish it was possible to glare at yourself.

With characters from all over the globe, and ages ranging from William's childe who is eighteen to Polly and Nicolaus who are around 1300, to Adam who quite likely has a BC in his date of birth, naming them can get interesting. And it can be hard to find names that I like that fit both the nationality and the timeframe. I've decided that when in doubt, nationality trumps timeframe. The older ones may very well have adopted more current versions of their real names at some point in their history. And that is my official story for any characters whose names are far too modern for their age. (This is also an advantage of doing Eternity's Redemption as a frame story, since the frame is modern day and the rest is their memories they could be so used to their current names that they even think of themselves as those names when remembering their pasts. Or something like that...). With Eli I actually tried to get time right, too. And turned to the best repository of old names I could think of - the Bible.

Now some writers like to give their characters names that relate to their role in the story. I could never understand that. I mean, it's not like their parents knew what they were going to be getting up to later on. I decided instead to just give them names that I liked and could imagine their parents liking.Last names, though, were another story. While looking for a last name for Seamus I found a last name that actually means demon-spawn. I officially don't want to know where that name came from, it frightens me. But it made me think. And combined with the fact that Catie's last name can be literally translated to "new Earth", an idea sprung up.

I have time mages. In fact, my entire premise involves a group of them that saw this final battle coming and have spent the past 1300 years preparing for it. Well, maybe they actually saw it even sooner than that. I am now looking for last names based on the theory that back when last names were being handed out there were time mages who had already gotten a glimpse at the roles these people would play in this battle and named their ancestors accordingly so that future mages would know which family lines to keep an eye on. It makes an odd kind of sense in my Universe. In fact, it even fits in with the curse on Polly's and Nicolaus's family that their magic doesn't work on each other.

So, that is part of my naming characters project. Finding last names in the appropriate language that has a nicely meaningful meaning that could have tipped off those in the know to watch this family.

What about you? Do you follow any particular naming conventions or have your characters's names mean something in the story? And for those of you that aren't writers, what do you think of books that either do or don't have meaningful names?

Monday, April 21, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week 5

Okay, we're going to pretend that I'm writing this on Friday just because... LOL Last week, I actually wrote every day. I got a couple great scenes written, and some summaries of other scenes. I've lowered my Camp Nano goal down to 50k and am mainly working on organization, right now. Though some of the scenes I've written lately are real tearjerkers. I've been crying my way through my writing, lately, which is oddly fun. Now on to this week's prompt, my characters.

First up are Catie and Eli, of course. As the MC's, they are of course the center of the whole book. I love them to bits and their relationship is fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking. They are ridiculously cute together, but there are some things that just make me cry. But, what can I say about them that most of you don't already know? After all, I've been talking about them for most of this blog. So, I'm going to move on to characters you don't know as well.

And so we'll go to William. While I've written a bio for him on here, already, there is still a lot that is not on there, about him. I love him because he's so different from Catie and Eli. Which makes him fun to write. He's a sarcastic, snarky bastard. But his heart is in the right place. As a young former soldier, he's the most knowledgeable about modern warfare. When it comes time to start planning for the final battle, William is their strategist. He's also the one that first starts to figure out what kind of war is REALLY coming. He's a lot smarter than he lets on, preferring to hide his intelligence behind a back-hills dialect among other things. Eli even calls him out on being a fraud because of that. He becomes Catie's best friend other than Eli and is the rock she leans on when things go horribly wrong.

And then there's Polly. Polly is the second oldest person in the city. A 1300 year old woman trapped for Eternity in a 10 year old girl's body, she'd be an enigma from her age, alone. But she is also a seer, the younger sister of time mage Nicolaus. It was her visions that put the events of both Eternity's Price and Eternity's Redemption in motion. I've nicknamed her "creepy girl", and the only characters that aren't at least a little creeped out by her are Nicolaus and Adam. She talks in riddles, and just basically drives everybody crazy.

And one last character I want to talk about today. I haven't named him yet, and so his name is currently "comic relief". This man cannot be in a scene without making me laugh. From calling Eli "Ellie" to commenting on how easily he "burns" in the sun, and a whole bunch of other stuff. I just laugh at him, all the time.

I could talk about my characters for days. But I should probably spend some time actually WRITING my book, today. So, I'm going to end this here. Come back on Wednesday for a mini-review of Aeon Timeline, a program I just downloaded today to make a timeline for my novel.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Have hammer will fix - or why I hate my computer, sometimes

I hate my computer, lately. But in my defence, I’m pretty sure the feeling is mutual. We’ve had a bit of a love-hate relationship for a while now. But every once in a while, it pushes the bounds of that relationship. Today is one of those days. It has once again eaten my novel. I’m sure that at least most of it is in here, somewhere. I am currently too tired to go looking for it. Also, depending on how much was lost, I may throw things. Hopefully the most I’ve lost is the scene summary I wrote yesterday. I can dream, right?

Okay, I know that at least part of my problem is that I don’t back-up enough. If everything was also in my dropbox folder, or on my flashdrive, or even saved elsewhere on the computer under a new name, I wouldn't be freaking out, like this. But my last back-up was before Camp Nano started. I’ve written 30k since then. I know that I need to back-up more often. I admit that part of my problem is just forgetfulness. I FORGET to back-up. But, I need to start doing that. My new writing resolution is to back my novel up every night before bed. To my flash drive, to dropbox, and by creating my own sequential back-ups by creating a new folder with the date every day to have a second place right on my compuyter for it. Then even if the file gets corrupted before I back it up, worst case-scenario I’ve lost a day.

Okay, I worte the first half of this on Wednesday, then got tired and went to bed. So, here it is, Thursday, and I can give an update. I made a new folder called back-ups and I spent the day moving the auto-back-ups from Ywriter into that folder, organizing them by date. And, I lucked out. The back-up from Monday was fine. So, all I’ve lost is the scene summary I wrote on Tuesday. I’m not fully organized, yet, but I AM fully backed up. It’s a start.

Another issue I have with my computer, and this is NOT just me being stupid, is the need to restart it at least once a day. This wouldn’t be such a huge deal, if Chrome wasn’t also stupid. Here’s my issue with Chrome. It has the option to re-open the tabs/windows that were open before when you start it. The problem is, that it only opens the tabs in the last window to close. And even if you right-click and tell it to close all windows, it still closes them one at a time. And so, it will only re-open the last window to close when you told it to close them all. And so, the only way to get Chrome to work properly, is to not shut the computer down, properly. I restart my computer by turning it off and back on at the switch. So basically, I am breaking my computer because Google can’t grasp the concept of re-opening every window you had open, unless you do a force shut-down. I’m considering posting on their help forums to find out if there’s a work around for that, that doesn’t involve me spending an hour combining, and then another hour uncombining browser tabs...

Anyway... Project for tomorrow is to write my 90 Day Writing Challenge check-in post. Which is going to be awesome because I get to talk about my favourite characters. Rather than the backstories (except for where they’re important to understand the character) I’ll be talking about their role in the story and  why I love them. It will be a fun post. I’m also going to finish the scene I had started on Sunday, and hopefully do some more scene summaries. Write club should help with that.

Friday, April 11, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge week 4

Time for my weekly check-in. I did miss one day, last week. Sunday I had to kill off a beloved character, and writing a death scene from the POV of the character about to die is.... rough. But even harder was watching his girlfriend have a nervous breakdown afterwards. I tried to write that scene on Monday, but didn't get very far. And then Tuesday, I just couldn't seem to make myself do it at all. (Or maybe I have that reversed. I can't even remember, anymore.) I did finally get through it on Wednesday, crying like a baby the entire time. What made it that much more interesting is that I was WATCHING it happen. I used a POV character other than the one having the nervous breakdown so we get to see it from the outside. I think that in some ways, that may have made it even more heartbreaking. Poor William had no idea what was going on, and could only sit there and watch it all go down. I think it works much better this way than it would have from her POV. Anyway, that's what I accomplished, this week. Word count wise, I'm so far behind that updating my word count just makes me sad, but hopefully I'll be able to catch up.

So, this week's check-in is supposed to be about why I write. (Even though some of the others are confusing me by writing next week's blog post this week...) Ahem. Anyway... I write because I can't not write. It sounds simplistic, but there it is. I write because for all that I'm a procrastinator from Hades, I feel bad when I don't. I am in love with these characters, and with their stories. They make me laugh and cry and want to throw things. But mostly, they make me NEED to tell their story. Because it's the only way to get the voices in my head to shut up for a few minutes.

Okay, I sounded schizophrenic with that last sentence, but I think that maybe all writers are a bit schizophrenic. After all, we all have all these other people living inside our heads, telling us their stories so that we can share them with the world.

Okay, next week's check-in will be longer, because I get to talk about some of my favourite characters. And meanwhile, on Wednesday I'll hopefully remember one of the blog posts that were writing themselves in my head, yesterday.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

The start of Camp Nano

So, Camp nano started on the first of the month. I was already behind by the end of day one, and so have been forgetting my blog in my so-far-unsuccessful attempts to catch up. Though at least I'm not the only one that is just not doing well, this year. I know of two other people (besides myself) who have already lowered their goal. I started out wanting to write 150k, I've lowered that to 100k. I'm on track to write 60k...

I don't know why I'm having so much trouble with it. I've gotten to the more fast-paced, holy-crap-is-this-really-happening? part, which SHOULD be easier to write. Though, it may also be because in a way I don't WANT to write this part. After all, it's also the sad part. Watching someone have a nervous breakdown is never easy, and being the one responsible for it is even harder.

I do have a slight out, though, in the form of scenes I know I accidentally skipped from the first half that I can turn to when the second half gets to be too much for me. If I finish this next scene today, maybe I'll "reward" myself with one of the less angsty scenes from earlier in the book.

I'm also going to play on the word wars board looking for word count pub crawls to do. having the entire Nano forums to be responsible to for getting a decent word count should hold me accountable, sort of.

In other, completely unrelated, news. I'm working on a role-playing website. I'm kind of hoping to have that ready to start in May. But, the book takes precedence, so the website may have to be put on hold for a bit. We'll see. Maybe I'll make my reward for hitting a daily goal be doing something on the site...

And I guess that's all for now. Come back on Friday for my 90 Day Writing Challenge check-in and why I write.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

90 Day Writing Challenge - Week Three

Okay, this week has gone better than last week, at least. (For all that I totally forgot to write my blog post about it.) I'm not meeting my Camp Nanowrimo goals, but at least I've been writing every day. It's definitely a step in the right direction.

My writing space and ritual... Usually I write while sitting on my bed. Because quite frankly, I pretty much live in my bedroom. One of the side effects of living with my parents is that I rarely leave my room. I also don't really have a ritual. I do like to write in 30 minute sprints, unless there's a scene that I'm really going like gangbusters on. Or the reverse, if I'm having trouble with it, I'll keep muddling through because I hardly got anything in those 30 minutes. Today I'm going to try doing a word count pub crawl from the Nano forums to try to start making up what I'm behind on.

Okay, this blog posts sucks, because I just don't have an answer to the question asked in the prompt. I can talk for DAYS about my story and characters, but I'M not really that interesting... Oh well. Come back tomorrow for my "start of Camp Nano" post that I am going to be 8 days late on...