Archive for Writing

The WriMo Wrap Up

You might have noticed that during the entire month of November I did not post, not once, about the NaNoWriMo. Let me tell you why…

I got sick.

Yeah, its a lame excuse, but the wife and I both caught the creeping crud somehow and it put us both down for the count. To be honest, we should have gone to the doctor as bad off as we were, but without insurance those office visits add up. Even if we’d had insurance, what I can afford to buy on my own ends up having such a high deductible and covers so little, its really like not having insurance. Instead we stayed at home and doped up on the OTC medications.

Ultimately, NyQuil with the alcohol in it did the trick. But after nearly two weeks of headaches and congestion, coughing and aching, I just wasn’t in the mood to write.

I tried, a few false starts, but since I started the month sick I never settled on an idea, a place or character or situation, and I wound up doing what I always do, write half-assed outlines. I’ve got about six more of them now, all with plot twists or cool characters and not a single one even remotely close to being a full fledged story. All in all, I probably wrote 20,000 words in November, but spread out over a half dozen stories… well, it just sucks.

Next year, I’ll try not to get sick. In the meantime though, I’ve got a few other things going to help get the juices flowing, and with the Writer’s Guild still striking, I soon won’t have much TV to distract me.

Of course, there is always Rock Band…

Gearing Up for the WriMo

Last year’s attempt to participate in the NaNoWriMo did not go so well. I’m hoping this year goes better. I don’t have any more unmarried brothers, I can’t afford any vacations, the open projects at work don’t look like they are going to surge, so this may just be my year.

I’ve been thinking about what I want to do, which story I want to write, and I’m still floundering, unfocused. So, here provided is a list of the things I am thinking about doing, cast your vote.

  • The Jumpgate War: In the future we have finally discovered how to travel between distant star systems, in two pieces, the jump ship and the jump gate. The ships are large hulking vessels, expensive and requiring monstrous amounts of power to jump the ship across space. There are very few of them. Once they find a suitable planet, the crew sets down and installs a jump gate and dials home, with a source at both ends the gates are far easier to use. The nations of Earth (and its nearby planets) have their own goals in the universe, and it turns out that we are not alone.
  • Superhero Harry Potter: Those three words are the easiest way to describe my idea without spending pages to lay it out. A girl, the daughter of superheroes, comes into her own abilities, has to deal with High School and maintain her secret identity.
  • “A Willful Destruction of Life”: This is a very odd idea, because it is no idea at all, it is just a title… the thought here is “Come up with an interesting title, then create a story that fits it.”
  • American Apocalypse: A story about the US after terrorists detonate a nuclear device in Washington D.C. on inauguration day, essentially wiping out the political side of the federal government.
  • Land of the Fairer Sun: A fantasy tale about the return of incarnations of forgotten gods, the rise of a brand new religion of a single god and the kingdom caught inbetween.

I’m also trying to put together a writing group this year to meet on a semi-regular basis, probably at my house, so we can cheer each other on and maybe keep each other from quitting.

15 days until go time…

I Don`t Believe You

One of the guys over at Ofasoft started up a little writing contest. The rules were as follows: Your story must begin with the phrase, “I don’t believe you”. The punctuation and context of this phrase is up to you. It could be a line of dialogue. It could be a message in a strange fortune cookie. It could a personal thought. If you need to sandwich a few words ahead of this, that’s fine. Second, your story must include the phrase “put it down” somewhere near the end. By “near the end,” I mean the last paragraph, or maybe the second to last paragraph. Again, this could be exposition or dialogue. Submissions must be at least 500 words in length, and may be no longer than 3000 words in length. I ended up being the only person to make a submission, even after an extended deadline. So here is my entry:

     “I don’t believe you,” Mrs. Thornsdale muttered. She shifted in the back of the limousine, trying desperately to find a position that was comfortable, would not ruin her dress, and allowed her to avoid looking at Mason. Her faced continued to move, arching eyebrows and lips mashing together causing the corners of her mouth to pucker, as she tried to formulate her next thoughts in to words.
     “I always told her she could do better than you,” came finally drifting across from her side of the car.
     Mason was warm. Not uncomfortably hot, but warm in a soothing manner. His black suit was still a bit ruffled, and there was a stain over the right breast that might not ever come out. The knuckles on his left hand were raw and split, still bleeding in places. And he tongued the inside of his lip to see if it was still swelling. His right eye was surrounded in red that in the days to come would surely turn a deep purple. It stung when he blinked, so he tried not to, but that only made his eyes dry which caused him to blink even more.
     His body was finally settling down, the adrenalin being worked out of his system. Whenever he lifted his hands from his knees they trembled. Mrs. Thornsdale was talking again.
     “I told her you were a thug. And today of all days you had to prove me right. She could have had a husband with some breeding, some taste. But no, she had to fall for a ruffian.”
     He wasn’t a thug, not by a long shot. Harvard educated, he’d built and sold three businesses in his life, each more profitable than the last. The mansion they owned was larger than the Thornsdale Estate and it was only one of four residences they kept. Most days he would have argued all this with his mother-in-law, but not today.
     She was still prattling on about some boy named Dwight who would have made a much finer catch as Mason’s thoughts drifted outside the car, outside the window to the scenery passing by.
     The rows of headstones crept by as the limousine maintained a snail’s pace through the cemetery. Still fast enough that if he locked his eyes in place the names etched into the stones became unreadable. He did this as his thoughts drifted beyond the graveyard and over the last eleven years.
     He snapped back into the car as Mrs. Thornsdale’s narrative caught up to this morning. She turned to face him now, and he kept looking out the window.
     “And then today, on the day of her funeral, you had to get into a fight.”
     There had been at least nine of them, maybe more. And they were laughing. Mason had overheard what they were saying, and every word of it was true, but it had made him angry anyway. He was sure he had broken at least three noses; one of them had exploded in a jet of blood on to his suit. After he’d taken off his jacket and picked up one of the poles that had held up the guide rope, he was sure he had broken a lot more.
     The rage in him was so hot then that even thoughts of it now began to raise his temperature. He’d wanted to kill all of them, despite the fact they hadn’t said anything that everyone else didn’t already know.
     Mrs. Thornsdale was getting angry herself now. “What exactly were you thinking? What was going through your mind to go on a rampage like that at Allison’s wake?”
     Mason barely heard her as he mentally lingered on the last moment of the brawl. Unconscious, broken and bleeding men lay around the front of the church. He had taken several deep breaths to gain the composure to remember the pole and to force himself to put it down. “They called her a whore,” he said.
     His mother-in-law slowly turned and aimed her gaze out the window on her side of the limousine. She breathed a heavy sigh, and placed her hand atop his, resting on the raw split knuckles, and they traveled the rest of the way to the funeral in silence.

I’m particularly happy with this because I wrote it, and I don’t just mean its an original. I mean, I wrestled with the theme, the limitations of the contest, a bit, and then I just started writing. It poured out, and when I was done, I didn’t revise it. Looking at it now, there are a few things I might change or enhance, and I’ve even considered using this in the context of a much larger story. But for now I’ll just let it stand.