Saturday, November 30, 2013

A Tribute to All Those NaNoWriMo Novelists

Last year, November 2012, I took on the National Novel Writing Contest and wrote 60,000 words in the allotted 30 days.

Those of you who've done it this year, you're probably thinking your pretty tough.  I was.  Not to dampen your spirits, but if you're truly thinking yourself the master of all writing marathons, think again.

Yes, there's something even more challenging than NaNoWriMo.

The 3 Day Novel.

And it sounds exactly like it is.

30 days divided by 10.  That's all the time you have to write a full length novel.

And now, this isn't some total spoof of a post.  It's real.  Thousands of writers have done this - some have even succeeded (without going whack in the old second story, either).

It's not like I'm going to ever try this.  Maybe later.  Maybe.

Sorry I just killed all your pride in finishing a 50k novel, but it had to be done.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013


I decided to do a podcast this time.

A few parts are sort of rough - I only had about 30 minutes to edit it all.  Oh, and no, that's not quite my natural voice.

Sorry you have download it o hear it.  I couldn't figure it out any other way.

The One Year Adventure Novel


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tuesday Tales (a day late - Again!!!)

Nightmares in the Past, Chapter 3.

It was minutes only before another Jedi arrived, called through Keith’s datapad.  Master Rambar, a Kel Dor, quickly released Keith and Tharalia, trapped under the debris, and ordered a team of SP-4 droids to bear Tharalia and Ina off to the medical wing of the Tython Temple.
       Keith, Kian, and Kim followed soon after for Keith’s minor wounds to be bandaged.  The walk spanned across the entire Temple, which allowed Kian a glance at what had happened in the more heated areas of the temple-wide skirmish.
       “So what do you know about this mission?” asked Keith the Kel Dor.
       “Two Sithlin’s ‘eaded off a small scale operation.”  Rambar took a pull at his breathing mask.  “A couple squads a’ mercenaries and Sith troopa’s.”  He shrugged, disgusted wrinkles crawling on his face.  Finally, he continued.  “We dunno what they were tryin’a do, but whatever it was they failed.”
       Kian’s ear perked up.  Failed?  Had they really?  He shivered.  That was a terrible thought.  But was it entirely . . . um, what was that word - unpossible?
       “Two Sith?”  Keith asked, interrupting Kian’s thoughts.
       Rambar nodded.  “A Sith warrior and an Inquisitor.
       “The Sith warrior was undoubtedly Omar - he’s a madman in its definition - but this inquisitor, was he captured?”
        Rambar took in a deep breath.  “‘fraid not.  He jumped onto a dropship when things went ill for him.  Troop a’ his men got away too.”
        “Bastasi!,” Keith muttered.  “Then we’ll be dealing with this again later.”
       “Oh no,” Rambar shook his head, casting his arm up in a wild gesture.  “We’ve forced enough information out of one of the merce’eraries.  He was ca’pliant with our ques’ions.  Apparently, this inquisitor was a rogue of some kind, it be even a possib’ that ‘e was working apart from the Academy.  Whatever the point of this operation of his was, it be a myst’ry.  But with Omie dead, they won’t be comin’ again.  And a good thing that nit-twit is gone, too.”
       “Don’t be too convinced we won’t hear from them again.  We need to pursue this inquisitor.”  Keith hesitated.  “Oh, and I think you mean nit-wit . . .”
       Rambar’s one eyebrow shot.  “That’s what I was saying!”
       Kian and Kim exploded into giggles.
       Keith growled and shook his head.  “Whatever.  But what was that about the prisoner?  Surely he would have known about the objective.”
       Rambar sighed.  “Evra’ time we brought up the object of the mission he just clammed up and shook his head.  ‘Ventually he’d say he di’n’t know - that he was just a mercenary for “Big ‘Un”.”
       Keith shook his head, staring at the floor.  “That is unfortunate.  If we could have only taken Omar prisoner.  He would’ve known.”
       “And risk the lives of two Jedi Knights, a padawan, and two younglings, plus countless more if Mr. O was not stopped there?” Rambar appealed.  “Nay, that padawan is a brave lass, she did the right thing to end him there.”
        Keith replied, but Kian lost interest in the conversation.  Instead, he looked around at the damage that was wrought in the entrance hall.  Just one small operation caused tremendous damage.  Service droids buzzed about, and a group of workers from a building station nearby hustled in to repair the temple.
       A worker ruffled Kian’s hair as they passed.  Kian frowned and combed his hair back with his hands.  They continued on down the hall, during which time he not only received three more hair ruffles, but one big pinch on his cheek.
       Now that was a problem.  The old preyed on the weak and helpless in all these “harmless” mind maddening ways.  So frustrating.  How can you ever be manly in such a situation?  How he hated being little.
       Kian glanced over to Kim.  She wasn’t being bugged - no, people knew not to mess with her.  But Kian was just another youngling to be pinched, pulled and ruffled.
       Once they had reached the medical wing, Keith bandaged his wounds with several bacta pads while Rambar checked on Tharalia and Ina.  Keith turned to Kian.
       “Son, I need to talk to you about some very important things.”
       Kian perked up.  Kim edged closer.
       Keith eyed Kim up and down.  He cleared his throat purposefully.  “In private, Kim.”
       Kim’s shoulders sank.  “Oh-kay . . .”
       Keith took Kian behind a curtain.  “You are brave, Kian, but you must follow the rules.  If you do not follow them, nothing can help you, not even the Force.”
       Kian searched his father’s face.  “ . . . What?”
       “Son, what you did was brave, but you still did the wrong thing.  I told you to stay in the clan house.  You disobeyed me, you disobeyed the Order.  You could have died - that Sith was dangerous.  Very dangerous.”  Keith sighed.  “But still . . . what you did, it was noble, and I thank you.”
       Another voice startled in.  “You’re very welcome.”
       “Wha?”  Keith and Kian both looked up.
        Kim!  Kian’s heart jumped.  His friend’s head poked through the curtain’s opening - a broad smile smudged on her face, gleaming pearly white teeth.
       “Kim . . .”  Keith growled.  Still, neither Kian nor Keith could help a chuckle.
       Keith huffed and patted Kim’s head.  “Well, I suppose that goes for you too, Kim.”
       She blushed.  “Great.”  She began to twiddle her thumbs, stepping into the curtained room fully.
       “So was that Sith Darth Yomar?” Kian asked.
       “Darth Ohmy,” Kim corrected.
       Keith laughed meaningfully, yet strained at the same time.  “It was Darth Omar, yes.”  His smile fell away.  “Now, Kian, Kim, I believe you have something to report to Master Kaleeth.”
       They both groaned, but obeyed and scampered away towards the clan house.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Short Break From Anything Writing-Related . . . (I'm not sure if I'll survive this . . .)

The courage . . .

The bravery . . .

The heart . . .

It take all those to do what I am about to do . . .

WRITE ABOUT SOMETHING COMPLETELY UNRELATED TO WRITING?!?!?!  :O (And yes, that means I can use emoticons, because I'm officially not trying to be professional).

Not sure If I will actually finish this post or not, but here goes.

Several evenings ago was the first practice of our homeschool co-op volleyball team.  Last year, on my old blog, I talked about our church volleyball team - well, this is different.  The co-op team is putting us through serious training.  Two full hours of practice - - awesome.

I've been practicing a lot of volleyball in the past, so I had some advantage, I guess (and disadvantages of a lot of things too . . .) but I've basically been re-learning most of my skills, because we're starting with the basics.  One of the big things we were learning today was spiking - or rather, the initial steps up to the spike.
As some of you probably know, I'm really short.  And that clicks me.  Because I can't even touch the roof . . . D:  I'm hoping, with jumping exercise , I might be able to.

Woo . . .

Isn't that exciting . . .

There's about fifteen players, including two coaches.

But this is already getting boring . . . I better stop now.

Thanks for reading,

Thursday, November 14, 2013




Think about it.

We're all flawed, which is why it just makes it all the more important.  It's realistic to be flawed - because whether we want to be or not, we always will be.

Flawed characters are realistic.  We're not evil - but there is two forces fighting against each other.  Light and darkness.  And if we don't do anything about it, the light in us will fade to darkness.  It's a conflict.

And, as Mr. S (Daniel Schwabauer, creator of the One Year Adventure Novel curriculum) says, conflict is pretty much the base of any good story.  Without it, there's no reason to turn the page.

A flawed character naturally has conflict - it's born within.  A struggle between light and dark, day and night, yin and yang.

A flawed character can either struggle with himself internally, or he can struggle with others externally because of his flaw.  Both are very common and very useful.  An example of a flaw that causes internal struggle would be confusion.  He's always confused, things aren't what they seem, they're twisted - at least in his eyes.  Therefore, he struggles within to flesh out what is and what is not.

For an external flaw, he could be uncontrollable, leading to arguments with just about everyone around him.

Both of those I have used.  In fact, I've used them in the very same character (he's very flawed, by the way, far over the ordinary).

But there's much more to flaws.  Flaws, unlike many other things, come from the character, not from an external force.  It's not his or her fault she has the flaw, but not resisting it is.  We all pretty much have a choice of resisting evil, and so should our characters.

That puts some weight on the character, which is good.  It begins to add in personal stakes.

Moving on to the subject of villains.  To what extent should you flaw a villain?  The exact same amount as the hero.  Villains are not pure, brooding evils.  Sorry, but Sauron is not a good villain.  He's not relatable - at all.  Villains are merely people (yes, flawed, not necessarily overly-flawed, however), who react to bad circumstances in bad ways.  At least, that's the ideal villain.  The only difference between a hero and a villain (a hero could, in fact, be considerably more flawed than the villain), is that the hero chooses to take a moral stance as to how he will react to misfortune, and a villain will take an immoral stance.

But back on topic.

Flaws also make a character relatable, which you probably already know.

The reason, is, obviously, because we all are flawed.

You've heard that a million times already, I know - I have too.  But it doesn't just make them relatable and realistic, it too adds conflict.


See there?

All stories are focused, based, and bred in conflict.

And another thing about flaws in villains that I hadn't realize until quite recent.  In fact, right this moment.

Your villain should be flawed, yes.  Your hero should be equally flawed.  Every single character in your story should, in some way be flawed, because we as mortals are - it's in our blood.  But a recurring theme in villains is that they go out to be emperors or killers or what not because of one single traumatic event in his or her lifetime.  Now this does make sense.  If his entire family was murdered in front of his eyes, that's going to hurt.

But chances are, he's not going to become a dictator.  Why?  Because he likely either won't have the resources, or, also very likely, he won't foster feelings of vengeance strong enough to devote his life to that.

Why not end it there with a .22 handgun?

Give him a reason for becoming what he is.  Not the stereotypical reason, but something that would really lead him to do what he does.  Chances are, if his village was raided, which caused his family's destruction, other children will suffer the same or similar acts - why is he so different than the rest?

But I kind of got off the topic of flaws.


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

The Exception?

Humans are social beasts.

The exception?



Post Script.  A post on flawed character is scheduled for tomorrow.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Just a quick post to apologize for my week-long absence.  My internet was down, and I hadn't scheduled any posts for the week.  My goal is a minimum of two posts a week.


Friday, November 1, 2013

Writing It - Part 2

(Sixth lesson in my writing class.)

Each scene of your story should be based on three things in this order: Goal, Conflict, Disaster.

Each scene should heighten the suspense of the story until the very highest point of the climax.  Each scene should be made up with those three things, Goal, Conflict, Disaster.

The hero has a goal, but he comes into conflict with something, and disaster is the result.  This doesn’t mean your story has to be a tragedy, it simply means that your hero doesn’t win every time he’s confronted with a problem.

The reason each scene ends in a disaster is because it’s compelling.  If the character gets everything he or she wants, then it’ll be boring.  Putting in the Conflict and then Disaster tells the reader that there is really a chance things might not end up well.  Something real is at stake.

Of course, you can’t just end a scene with your character being defeated, and then in the next scene he’s already coming up with a new Goal.  No, that’s why you need to have a second format for the next scene.  A Reaction, a Dilemma, and a Decision.

A Reaction to the Disaster in the last chapter.  Your character is regrouping, recovering, maybe even grieving?  But definitely defeated and discouraged.  If you write it authentically - with an understandable reason for the way he or she is acting - the readers will be sympathetic, and maybe even feel defeated and discouraged with the character.  After your character is defeated, give him or her some time to reflect on it.  Even the sprightliest of people will get discouraged and it’s going to take them a while to recover - this is the time for the character to react, not act.  Not yet, anyway.

The second part of this follow up scene is the Dilemma.  When there are several possible solutions the character can make - and they all seem bad.  The Disaster was so crucial that there is seemingly no hope.  But now, he’s recovered just a little, so that he’s decided he has to continue, or maybe a friend keeps talking to him until he finally gets out of his Reaction stage, when he doesn’t do anything to keep going.  Now he’s going in the right direction, but he suddenly realizes he has to make a choice between a few ugly possibilities.  I can’t stress how much you want to make these possible choices all bad.  If one is an easy pick, add something into it to make it more difficult.  Let your character ponder over this.
I suggest you write out a full page of your character simply questioning what options he has.  Should he sell his house or his car?  Selling the car would be the more preferable choice, yes, but now you need to throw a wrench into the gears.  What if his car is the only way he can get to work, even if it is a low paying job?  Make the decision matter.

And finally the third part of this second scene; the Decision.  Now that he’s thought over the possibilities, he has to make an action.  This is a very important part in this scene because once more it’s giving the character the ball.  His actions determine his fate.  He then decides what Decision he will make.  As I said before, don’t make it an easy decision, but make it a decision that the reader will respect, because when a reader thinks about what the possible decisions could end up in, and considers them, he or she will relate to the character, which is always a good thing.
Look at it in another way.  What if the reader is holding his breath to see what the character will do, and then suddenly, with no rhyme or reason, the character picks the absolute hardest one.  Then the reader will think, “well that was a stupid thing to do.”  And that will annoy him.  The most important thing for this part of the scene is to get the reader to wonder what he or she would do in that situation, and then give them a satisfying answer as to what the character did.  If you can do this, you’ve got a great scene.

Now, as you see, the character knows what he wants to do.  The Decision at the end of this scene is what he will do, in the next scene we’re back to Goal again.  The character has Decided what his Goal will be.

This is why you interlock the two types of scenes every other time.  Using there initials, you can create the pattern they are in.

GCD, which is Goal, Conflict, Disaster.
And RDD, Reaction, Dilemma, Decision.

And repeat it.

and so on.  It’s a full scale of ups and downs for the reader and the character.  It visits both despair and hope in one full cycle.  If you keep this up, not only will a reader be interested, you yourself will be compelled to keep writing.  The best way to get interested in writing a story isn’t just to write it, it’s to get into it.  Write the character’s emotions as if you were there.  As if you were just encountered with your Disaster.  And now your hurting, and finally you come to the Dilemma.  Make the reasons compelling, so that you yourself would say, “which one would I choose?” and then you know you’ve made a great scene.

So have your next scene, be it your first or fifth, planned out in this method.

I want you all to get out a pencil and paper, and write at the top “Scene 1", then on separate lines: Goal, Conflict, Disaster.

Then take out a new sheet and write at the top “Scene 2", and in separate lines below Reaction (to the Disaster), Dilemma, Decision.

Take some time in club today to write beside those words what your character is faced with for that part of the scene, the Decision he makes, and/or the Disaster he faces.  Just something simple, just so that you have an idea.

 If you do this with all your scenes, you’ll compel not only your reader to keep reading, but you as the writer to keep writing.

Do as many scenes as you can.

Also take time today to share, or listen to, any writings you want to have your audience’s feed back on.