Friday, November 27, 2009

A NaNoWriMo technique

Okay, so NaNoWriMo is bearing down on us. I'm safe; I'm 10,000 words past the required word count. (YAY!!!!!) And very excited, but I still have a problem; the book isn't finished.

It might take another thirty thousand words to get it finished, maybe another fifty thousand, even!

The creators of NaNoWriMo recommend having the novel, for all practical purposes, finished by the end of November. Write the end, write the crucial scenes between the end and what you've got. You can go back and connect them later.

When I found this out, I created an outline of stuff that needed to happen by the end of the novel and filched about a third of my old draft from when I actually started working on this idea. I'm not sure when it hit me that I couldn't possibly write all of that by the end of the month, or if I knew before I made the outline, but later I went in and highlighted important scenes that I could connect later.

Yesterday I went in and highlighted the most crucial scenes so that I could just write those and work on the other ones later, and then I highlighted stuff I had already written (I'm a little past writing them in order now; yesterday I wrote the last scene in the book, and I'm working on one of the less important events, still, but after that I can concentrate on the crucial ones.

I found the highlighting and outline really helpful. I used gray for the important scenes, yellow for the crucial scenes, and green for the scenes that I've already written. It helps me stay organized. So, if you're struggling to get to the end, writing out of order might help, if you have a rough outline and highlight it. :) Just an idea. It helps me.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

People Who Have My Shoes #2


Harry Potter

Movie/Book: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Shoes: Black Chuck Taylors


Harry and I have the same shoes. WHAT'S UP?!

Anna

Saturday, November 21, 2009

People Who Have My Shoes #1


Okay, something I think is very cool:

I have the exact same shoes as some of my favorite characters in various TV shows and movies. I'm gonna start keeping track of this. (Humans love lists, don't write this off as a dorky waste of time.)

So, here's the first person:

Rocky Balboa

Movie/Book: Rocky

Shoes: Black Chuck Taylors

Eye of the Tiger, baby!

Anna

Friday, November 20, 2009

A Short Excerpt for this week:

I'm at 43,808 words. :) This is an excerpt from Chapter Twenty-One, in which a new character is introduced. Enjoy. Maximum two more excerpts before NaNoWriMo is over; and I might decide to take all of them down, who knows.






He squeezed it and watch the blood slowly squirt out. It dripped down his finger and temporarily stained his dry skin. Dex clenched his fist and flinched when he heard another sound; soft footsteps, almost too quiet to hear.

Footsteps.

"Hello?" Dex asked tensely. It didn't make any sense for there to be footsteps in a gravity free room. He was sure he had imagined that. Something had just fallen. He gripped the corner of the shelves and peeked around the corner. His eyes still hadn't adjusted very well; all he could see was a bunch of shapes and shadows of things.

He pushed himself away from the shelves boldly, now certain that he was alone in the room; the idea of footsteps was just silly. The idea of someone in here was even sillier, and he was old enough not to freak himself out like that. He was about to go tell Marty that everything seemed to be stable enough in there to not have to tie down anything when he heard a loud bump.

He whirled, expecting to see a metal box or something near a shelf, but instead he saw two eyes shining at him from the shadowy corner. Dex automatically kicked off of the object nearest him and flew into the wall behind him. He banged his head against a sharp corner.

The pain made him stop and think. He had a gash on the back of his head, probably bleeding. He groaned out loud, forgetting to be scared of whatever was in there with him, and lifted his hand to feel. Good; it wasn't a gash and it wasn't bleeding. An overreaction. He would have a bruise back there, maybe a mild headache later. Or a severe headache now; either way, he would be fine. But now, more importantly; what was back there? What - or who - was watching him?

"Hello?" he asked. His voice cracked. Great. He actually sounded scared.

He thought he heard a deep breath, like someone had thought about talking and then changed their mind. He took a step forward, his eyes finally starting to adjust to the dim light in the room. He had dropped his flashlight somewhere, so he couldn't shine it at the person/thing that was hiding in the corner. Or, he assumed that he or she was hiding in the corner. He peered and tried to see the eyes, or at least a body that went with them.

He couldn't see anything. Hesitantly, Dex took a step forward.

"Hello?" he said again.

A quiet voice answered him.

"Hello." a very, very soft voice.

"Come out where I can see you!" Dex demanded.

He heard things moving around and being knocked into the shelves and walls.

Dex kicked off frantically from the wall he was closest to and looked around for his flashlight. He didn't see it anywhere. He looked up, now looking for the person/thing that had answered him, and then he saw her.

She had a small frame and was clenching the vertical make-up of one of the shelves, now on the other side of the room. He couldn't see what she was wearing, or what color her hair or eyes were; only that she was huddled there like a scared animal.

As she turned her head, he saw the light shining in her eyes.

"Come on out," said Dex, trying to sound stern. He didn't succeed. He liked to think he was too nice a person to be mean to someone that was scared, but he wasn't sure if that was the reason.

She paused, and slowly began to emerge from behind the shelf, but paused again, as if waiting for something. "It's alright," Dex assured her.

She shook her head; her hair looked like it was wavy, or curly, or something. A little bit different from anything he had seen before. Yeah, it was definitely different.

"Are you the Captain?" she asked.

Dex was surprised by this question; but he answered quickly anyway.

"No, I'm not."

"Who are you?" she asked.

"Dex," he said, unable to think of anything impressive to say.

"Are you the writer?" she asked.

"No."

She emerged some more from behind the shelf.

"You're the mechanic, maybe?" she asked. She sounded hopeful, like she wanted to be right.

"That's right," said Dex, confused. How had she known that?

"You like to fly the ship, though." she said it like a guess.

Dex frowned; he wasn't sure what to make of this. It seemed really weird; and he should be asking her the questions, not the other way around.

"Who are you?" he asked, trying to sound stern again.

"Xarryn," she answered. "Xarryn Shaa."

"Zarin Shaw?" asked Dex, trying to get the pronunciation right.

"That's close enough," she said, but the humor that should have been in her voice wasn't there.

"What are you doing here?" asked Dex, taking a step forward. She withdrew all the way back behind the shelf.

"It's alright," he assured her. He would just have to give up being stern. It wasn't working, and if it did he would only scare her.

"I'm not going to hurt you," he added.

"The Captain will be...angry," she said.

"Why?" asked Dex, although he was thinking that it wouldn't take a whole lot to make Marty mad.

"I'm not really supposed to be here," she explained.

"A stowaway," Dex whispered.

She nodded, an action he could barely see behind all of the junk floating around the shelves.

"Yes," she whispered back.

A few more things:

1. Read this article; it has some really interesting stuff about Ray Bradbury and some quotes.

2. Still miss my old book, which is a good sign, definitely, BUT; I'm still loving NaNoWriMo. I'm a little over 7000 words from getting to 50000.

3. Great idea for old book.

4. Closer to exciting parts in NaNoWriMo book.

5. Finished Twilight...excellent, again...I'm on Team Edward now, and I'm about to dive into Ray Bradbury and a Star Wars book that has three novels in it with various authors, and then New Moon by Stephanie Meyer. Or maybe New Moon before Star Wars. Not sure.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

A few things:

1. I miss my old book. I miss Dwalyn and North and Lance and Ebony and Dravidians and dark, foreboding forests, subtle science fiction trails. I miss all of that. But I'm still enjoying The Great Elation lots and lots; and its a good sign that I'm still attached to my book.

2. I'm rereading Twilight which is fun and rewatching the Star Trek episode: Mirror, Mirror, which is one of the best out of Season Two and this is also fun.

3. Firefly is absolutely awesome. I am completely creeped out by Revers. Ohmigosh. One of the reasons I must stay up late and READ. And then watch Star Trek: Mirror, Mirror.

4. I'm in Indiana, having a great time with my brother and sister -n - law and nephews and niece. It's Brian's fault that I'm lovin' Firefly.

5. I'm running out of random things to say, but lists are so fun that I don't want to stop.

6. NEW MOON COMES OUT THIS WEEKEND!!!!

7. NaNoWriMo is coming along really well; almost to 40,000 words, and today I discovered something that I had absolutely no idea about; turns out that Marty's unknown girlfriend is from a planet I haven't got a name for and THAT'S how he knows so much about my character Xarryn Shaa. :D

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chapter Eleven from The Great Elation

Chapter Eleven

The Wolf: Cody


Cody followed Dex around for half an hour before the ship was ready to go. Cody loved Dex. Dex was good. Cody could just tell. He was nice, he petted him just right. Not demeaning, or afraid. Just like they were friends, and Cody liked that. As great as Milo was, there was a very subtle fear; mostly awkwardness, but it made Cody feel awkward too, which was why he didn't let Milo pet him very often.

He also found Dex's voice easy to understand. The shapes just made more sense in his voice. And, even if he didn't know what they meant, he could always get an idea what they meant, because the way Dex said them was different than Milo, more bold, more happy, but not too happy; Dex had a very subtle hint of sad in his voice. Cody didn't think anybody else could hear it but him.

And Dex's smell! He smelled good. Not just that it was a pleasant smell, but that he was a good person. The scent just radiated off of him, like how nice he was. Nobody Cody had ever met smelled like that. The residue of thousands of winds clung to him; winds made on his motorcycle - a peculiar word, Cody had a difficult time even thinking it, it was so complicated, but Dex made it easier to understand. Winds from New York City, in all sorts of places. Dirty streets filled with garbage and exhaust fumes, mingled with the raw scent of people. Some of the scents were more delicate. Children. There was a heavy smell from streets like that. And then there was lots of clean wind; clean and icy. A sweet wind. The kind that Cody liked best. It reminded him of the winds back home, and the wonderful scents it has always brung.

And then there was the smell on Dex like he had gotten very close to leaving Earth. To touching the stars, mingling with the universe. It reminded Cody distinctly of Milo's smell; except that Milo's smell reminded Cody of minor things. It was different with Dex, because Cody thought he could smell that Dex hadn't actually gotten to touch the stars. He had almost gotten to, and that made a lot of difference.

Cody kept away from the tall one with dark hair...what shape had Milo used? Marty.

There was a lot of sad smell coming off of Marty, and even more sad sound in his voice. More than Cody had ever heard in anybody before. He felt as if Dex's sadness was hidden extremely well...Marty's, not so much. And the way he looked at Cody was nervous. Maybe even afraid. Cody watched him intently as they were getting ready to load up into the ship; occasionally Marty would throw a glance Cody's way, but he never tried to get close, but he didn't go out of his way to stay away either. Cody continued to watch everyone as he stayed close to Dex, who was wandering around and around the ship, whistling to himself, extremely impressed with it. The tall female with curly hair made Cody sneeze, because she had so much artificial smell on her. It smelled good, but Cody just couldn't get a good whiff without sneezing. She respectfully gave Cody his space and didn't attempt to touch him or talk to him, which Cody appreciated. Some people just didn't know how to talk to him, and this lady wouldn't have if she tried, he didn't much think.

The other girl...Cody thought of her as girl because she seemed younger than the other lady...was nice, and he liked her, almost as much as Dex. A few times he stopped by her and would watch her as she watched everyone else. The second time he sat down next to her, she lowered herself to the floor and talked to him. Her voice was about like Milo's...some of it was easy to make out, some of it he didn't understand, and some of it he just couldn't catch at all. Not as easy to listen to as Dex, but she had a pleasant voice, like she really did care about what she was saying, and like she really did care who she was talking to.

"You're a good boy, Cody," she said quietly. All of those were words Cody knew and liked. Dogs seemed to appreciate words like that more than he did; he didn't know why. He did like to hear them, though. They gave him a good feeling inside.

"I see that you like Dex pretty well," she went on. She smiled and started to reach her hand out to Cody, but then changed her mind. Cody pushed his nose under her...hand....odd names, the humans had for their paws. She was gentle when she touched him, and it felt good. She felt more comfortable touching him than even Milo did.

Cody whined too quietly for any of the humans to hear. He knew Milo wasn't a dog person. That's what the shapes sounded like that described someone that liked creatures like Cody. Her jacket was smooth and cool on the outside, like Dex's. It smelled of some creature Cody had never seen, but he liked the way it smelled. It made him want to chew on it, but he knew that might not be polite, so he didn't do it.

They were so odd. Why would they wear things that were once meant for eating? He knew her jacket couldn't be eaten now, but it just smelled so delicious. It would taste good to chew on.

"It looks as if I'll be the quiet one, as usual. Just as well. It's comfortable to be ignored, to some extent." Lots of shapes in her voice that Cody didn't understand, but a few he recognized anyway.

"What about you, Cody? What role will you play in this story?"

Story? Cody pricked his ears. He had a very vague idea of what that word meant. It was an exciting word.

"I'm winging it with my book," she said. Cody couldn't quite place her tone...perhaps one of regret? Regret. He didn't recognize that word, exactly. Why had he thought it? Oh yes. It had something to do with being sorry. Sorry was a word he knew. Milo said it a lot.

"It'll be quite an adventure won't it? Only Milo knows what I'm really doing on this ship. The government is after me, you know. Some rubbish like that. Ugh. Too much Harry Potter, I think; I said rubbish." she giggled. Cody looked at her questioningly, tilting his head and turning his ears toward her. He wondered what she was laughing at.

"I think Dex will be the character everyone likes," she said. Cody completely understood and agreed with that sentence.

"Marlene will probably be comic relief." Hurley laughed. More laughter. It sounded nice. Milo didn't laugh very much. He smiled, often, but you couldn't hear a smile.

"Milo. Hmm. What about Milo? The driving force. The voice of wisdom. The reason we're all here. Something like that. Soothsayer! No, no, Milo doesn't seem like a soothsayer. Maybe he's just older than the rest of us. He did get all of us here; but we can't label him as anything, can we?"

She sighed.

"But I've just labeled everyone else," she muttered. She didn't seem to like whatever she was talking to herself about. "Put them in a box, of where I expect they'll go. Of course I'll be wrong. You can't box in a character, unless they're one-dimensional." She looked around and fixed her gaze on Marty.

"However," she continued, "as long as I'm doing it, I might as well make a character prediction for Marty, too. Silent hero, maybe? Doesn't say much. No, wait. Mmm. Hate to say it. He'll be the character that nobody likes and nobody understands. I like him well enough; but I'm the writer, I like every character."

Cody growled softly, cautiously. Humans didn't seem to understand that growls were used for more than bad things. He just wanted to ask her a question.

"Oh, a question," she said softly. She smiled and rubbed Cody's forehead gently. It felt nice. Cody wished more things felt like this. He felt...what was that shape? He couldn't think of it. He would have to listen hard for awhile so he could hear it. Once he heard it, he would know it.

"Me, I'll be the narrator. First person, because that's the most fun for a novel like this. I suppose it won't exactly be a novel. I'll make some things up, change the names a bit. Perhaps I'll be...Alyson. That's a pretty name. A little bit more sophisicated than Hurley. It'll be like Journey to the Centre of the Earth. It'll read like its true, but some of it I'll have to make up. I'm just going to draw heavily from everyday experience. And I don't know if my characters will be in a spaceship bound for a planet in danger."

A few seconds later she burst into laughter that Cody thought was quite unexplained, but he didn't really care. He liked how she laughed at unexplained things. "No pun intended," she gasped.

Oh well. He would probably never know exactly what she had found so funny. 'Pun' was a shape he didn't understand. She turned to look at Cody.

"What about you, Cody? Sweet boy. What part have you got in all of this? Will you bring us together? I mean - the characters? I think we're all broken, in some way, except you, maybe Marlene. I don't know. Are you the missing link?"

She rubbed the fur around his eyes thoughtfully and then scooted closer.

Cody liked that. It was so nice. Like she needed comfort too.

"I guess we'll see," she muttered. "After all, we're only beginning."

The Screwtape Letters Audio Drama...

I just found out that there is a Screwtape Letters Audio Drama, and guess who's doing Screwtape's voice?


Never mind, you'll never guess.

Andy Serkis, the remarkable actor who played Gollum in The Lord of the Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson, as well as King Kong and the mustached cook in another excellent movie by Peter Jackson.

Oh, and he was Capricorn in Inkheart, but that movie didn't do the book justice, so....*shrugs.*

Click on this link to see a 'making of' video, which features Serki's yelling in Screwtape's voice. Excellent.
Anna

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Randomness


When recovering from unreasonable depression, Dr. A. E. Hedges, M.D., prescribes two spoonfuls of undiluted Hershey's Chocolate Syrup and a glass of milk afterwards.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My most recent facebook status reads:

25,000 words!!!! YAHOOO!!!!!!!!!!! Ohmygoodness... and they are only just BARELY on the ship! And it still hasn't taken off. It's not even off the ground. OHMYGOODNESS!!!!!!!!


in case you can't tell, I'm pretty pumped. And...I don't usually do facebook statuses. I'm not a big fan of them. But this month, it's a lot of fun to post my word count on there. :D

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Na-No-Wri-Mo. Hmm. I'm going to get tired of saying that all month.

"It's NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo. NaNoWriMo."

I've told lots of people that I"m doing it; maybe it's just me. I know it's taken some people more than once to get the whole name right.

I feel good right now; maybe because I'm done with my Nanoing for the day, or because that I'm listening to a good song, or about to go eat candy and watch something or another with Dad. All of that, probably. Today didn't come as easy as yesterday; this one character that I do not want to give me trouble is giving me trouble. Drat her! However, Dex is being extremely easy and compliant.

"Good boy, Dex."

-Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow

Anyway, I think she's shaping up some. I thought of an excellent background that makes a lot more sense...just an extra thread that gets her onto the spaceship in a more reasonable way. I just like it better. I had to wing it, though! Even though when I first came up with the character, she had this thread...in fact, it was a main thread...I forgot about it, until a few minutes ago when I was getting desperate. anyway. Yahoo for me, I made it work! and now I'm tired. :)

I watched most of Batman Forever....I'm watching the series backwards, apparently. I watched Batman and Robin... I think the last time I got sick. (Wonderful movie to watch when sick, because: it's full of weirdness, corniness, Tim Burton-ness and neon colors, and after sleeping all day, I was already in the Twilight Zone.)

So, if I continue watching backwards, I should watch Batman Returns.
I liked Batman Forever, except that some of the humor was annoying, it was extremely corny (although entertaining) and Robin could have been a little more of a...hero? I like the ones that suffer a little bit. He just didn't seem to suffer enough. *Shrugs*

It was still fun to see him introduced to the story and see Jim Carrey as the Riddler. That may have been the best part. Heh heh. Enough of this rambling. G'Night!
Anna

An Excerpt from The Great Elation

He didn't like going to his destination. It was always painful. But it was only fair. Sometimes you just had to do things. And it wouldn't be right for no one to know that he was leaving. He would just have to suck it up.

It took him about thirty minutes to walk there. The streets were pretty calm, nearly empty. A few late walkers like himself strolled by; a few of them looked homeless, but one or two had briefcases and nice clothes, keys clinking together in their pockets. Lucky beasts.

A few cars drove past. The headlights made Dex happy. It reminded him of Christmas time. It wasn't that far off, Christmas. Just a few months, but he wouldn't be on Earth. He would be up in space somewhere, with billions of lights surrounding him constantly. Stars!

Dex turned off a brightly lit street into a dark alley that most other people would have veered away from. It didn't bother Dex. This was his world. He had never mugged anyone, or hid in an alley waiting to attack anybody, but he had hid in an alley so that he wouldn't be attacked. Or caught. Dark alleys didn't bother him. Besides, this alley wasn't the greatest for people to be hiding in, waiting to snag an innocent pedestrian. There weren't any dumpsters in it, and it was right next to an active home, that was always in and out, dumping garbage into trash barrels. Trash barrels, not dumpsters. He shivered a little. He was walking into the wind now; and tiny ice-cold drops of water were in the air, hitting him in the face. It felt like minuscule needles, the wind was blowing so hard, but it felt good, too. Why did anybody ever where scarves over their ears and noses?

It was just silly. You couldn't feel the wind and the icy gusts of wind that way. Of course, this made his nose run worse, and even made it a little red, but he didn't care. It felt like spearmint gum washing over him, without the taste or smell. Just the ice.

He turned onto another street, and then jogged down two alleys, and then onto a street again. There was an apartment building there, the windows and door shining with bright lights from within. He took a deep breath.

Now or never, he thought.

Ugh! He didn't want to do this. Jamie was always nice, but Dad? Ugh. No. It would just be torture to go in...it would hurt both of them, that he was leaving the planet. Neither would appreciate it. Dex recapped. No, Dad wouldn't care. Dad didn't miss him when he was gone, and he wouldn't miss him when he was gone for good either. Jamie might care though, and it was only fair that he give her an explanation for his sudden disappearance. He took a deep breath and climbed the seven steps to the door and knocked loudly, wincing as his dry knuckles cracked.

He heard Jamie say something, and then, "I've got it, dear."

He waited patiently, enjoying the cold, and then Jamie opened the door. Her face lit up.

"Dex! What are you doing here? Come in, come inside before you make yourself sick!"

You had to love Jamie.

"Hey, Jamie," Dex said, smiling.

"It is so good to see you! Oh, gosh, you have grown. I thought you quit doing that."

"Guess not," said Dex.

"No, no, guess not, guess not. What brings you this way?"

"I just came to...visit some," said Dex, turning serious.

Jamie's face fell and grew dark.

"You're okay, aren't you?" she asked, her voice wavering a little. "You're not - "

"No," said Dex quickly.

"Oh, good. Don't scare me like that Dex. I nearly had a heart attack. Mercy, your face is so cold!"

Dex realized that Jamie was holding his face between her hands. She's the sweetest person I know, Dex thought. She had wide, green eyes and dark brown hair that was loosely curled. She didn't seem old enough to be Dex's stepmother. But she was; she was the same age as his father. She was one of those people that just didn't age much. The kind that looked fifteen years younger than they actually were.

Dex smiled to reassure her and then looked beyond the dark hall.

"Um...is Dad here?"

She nodded. "Yeah!"

"Mmm. I might go talk to him a minute. But - I would like to talk to you too and have a brownie before I leave."

She smiled. "Definitely! Take your time. He's in there listening to the radio and reading the newspaper."

That is so typical Dad. Dex thought.

"Okay." Dex walked down the dark entryway until he reached a door and then he turned into it, bumping into the wall with his shoulder as he passed.

His Dad was sitting there, his thinning light brown hair glowing in the soft lamp light. He turned when he heard Dex enter the room. He had light gray eyes, the same color as Dex's.

Awkwardly, Dex walked around the old recliner and sat down on the couch opposite it. "Hey Dad."

"Son," said Ray Marshall, coolly. The thing about Ray; he tried to be warm. He really did. He just couldn't do it. Dex rolled his eyes.

Same 'ole, same 'ole.

"Dad..."

"I don't know what's wrong with calling you 'son.' Fathers say that to their sons, and you are my son."

Dex sighed and looked away from those piercing gray eyes. Same color, different story. One of Dex's greatest fears was that he had that same hard look on his face. He never wanted to look that way.

"You're alright, then? I thought I heard Jamie say something about it in the hall."

"Yeah, Dad, I'm fine. I just came by to talk."

"Well, that's a first," said Ray, folding up his newspaper and setting it on the floor next to his chair.