Archive for October, 2010


Halloween & NaNoWriMo Prep

   Posted by: Jon    in Novels, Writing

As I type this, my phone calendar has recently reminded me that tomorrow NaNoWriMo starts. That would make today Halloween in the early hours. Although I’ve not posted much recently, thanks to Minecraft taking up most my time, I have been doing prep work for my Novel next month. I now have a very basic 10 chapter outline to give me kind of a road map of where to head with the story. However, this being mostly a discovery writing adventure, I’m sure I’ll get off the beaten path once the writing begins and the characters come alive with their own agendas, at least I hope that how it unfolds. (This will be my first novel.)

My story’s antagonist now has a name “Jamalin Spellslinger“, a Dungeon Overlord Wizard. I decided to make him human at the last minute so that readers may better identify with him rather than a hobgoblin magic-user. In Minecraft, I’ve completed some key locations I plan to write about in the book, one being an underground forest with a river running through it, lit by magical lamps that allow the trees to grow deep below. Through out November, I will be taking strolls through my single player game world to visualize different aspects of the story taking place there. When I see a graphical representation of a place, it put me in a mood and mindset that properly feeds my imagination with stories and events. I still have no drawing of Gorp, of which I’m sad, but then again today being Halloween I only have to look around me for inspiration and may try a quick rough sketch to get me going. I still have some world building to do as well and think I will spend part of the night and later today crafting up a map of the world top-side. Since most if not all of the story will take place within the dungeon below, it will just be a very basic map with dungeon location, a few local towns and any forest, bodies of waters, etc. I will most likely be using Campaign Cartographer 3 for that project from ProFantasy Software.

In order to comfort myself through November, I picked up a case of Red Bull today, along with a few huge bags of candy, and a jar of mixed nuts for protein. My NaNoWriMo “Author” mug came just in time for me to pour fresh brews teas into and keep it warm during any cold late nights of writing. My mind knows something big is about to happen for me next month, but truly, this being my first, I doubt I am really ready for the effort and amount of intense focus I will need in the coming weeks. Nonetheless, I will continue to sharpen my quill and flesh out my characters to the point they start to run away on their own free will. This should be a very interesting experience. My plan is to post something each of the days through November of where I’m at and provide a total Word Count update. I’ve also got two widgets going here on the side bars to show my progress. Once I’m finished with the novel, I may take a few days off from blogging or I may be in such a creative writing mood that I post after thoughts. Only time will tell how the story unfolds in this world and that world. 

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Minecraft & Writing

   Posted by: Jon    in Gaming, Novels, PC Gaming, Writing

From high upon the stone tower, I stand to view from a safe vantage point, the monsters down below. Minecraft, although a blocky game that resembles playing with Legos, is actually a very addicting and fun indie game. I only very recently found out about this game from a co-worker. Currently, while playing the Alpha version in single player mode, I’ve managed to dig some deep caves and block up some monster dungeons. My latest feat was to build a tall stone tower with the only entry point being from the cave below the hill that it sat upon. From the start, I found the closest hill and started digging a cave to protect myself from the monsters that come out at night. Thankfully, this plan worked great and I was able to explore the game below the surface at a slower pace than running around trying to survive the night. Interesting enough, what I thought would be a time waster for NaNoWriMo has actually turned out to be an awesome discovery. Because of the digging nature of the game, it has opened up a whole new world of dungeon design in 3D for me. It also provides a platform as to why a dungeon would be designed in a certain way. Although I will need to limit my time on Minecraft to just a few hours in November, I can already see this game as being a huge asset, just so long as it doesn’t take over from the writing. I’ve been quarrying up cobblestone in the game lately to build myself a castle overlooking the nearby oceans. But before I can do that I need to expand the land from which it will sit and build a temporary fort for protection from the creature of the night.

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Yesterday, I finally bought the new Dungeons & Dragons Starter Set (Red Box) of 2010. Being a D&D Lifer and Collector, it purchased this box more for the collector side of me as I also own the original Dungeons & Dragons Red Box set, as well as, all the other box set that followed. However, after reading up on this publication of the box, another factor weighed in and piqued my curiosity, a Solo-Adventure! I have not seen many Solo-Adventures for D&D, aside for a few during my Advanced Dungeons & Dragons days. I haven’t had time to sit down and go through this box, but plan to soon. In addition to this I got the Dungeon Tile Box that should come in handy with the Dungeon Master Kit I bought a few days after release. I think I will use these as a separate method of introducing my non-gamer friends to Dungeons & Dragons and hopefully keep it simple. The Dungeon Tile box and Dungeon Master Kit both remind me that I also need to design the Dungeon for my upcoming Novel “Gorp: Goblin Janitor” in November. The time approaches faster and faster, my outline is only a line drawn in the sand with starting place and a finish point, and my characters swimming around in my head in a pool without a ladder to crawl out onto a page and be seen. I’ve also started drinking more tea to help me focus and to relax my nerves after a long mental workout from my daily job. However, no matter what, come November in addition to voting at the polls, I’ll also be locked and ready to write a 50,000 word novel. I just have to surround myself with things that promote creativity and story. I guess getting the new Fallout: New Vegas for the XBox 360 yesterday could help count towards story right? Argh! I hope I haven’t undone myself with an RPG before the writing even begins. I’ve got to somehow trick myself into thinking that Fallout: New Vegas is boring and that writing my story is the best time I could have between Nov. 1 – Nov. 30. I don’t feel defeated or worried at this moment, just concerned about mundane life getting in the way. And when I say mundane, I mostly mean watching movies and gaming.

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New Keyboard

   Posted by: Jon    in Novels, PC Gaming, Writing

Since my old Creative keyboard was dying on me and turned out to be a piece of junk, I decided to go with a new keyboard in preparations for NaNoWriMo next month. Going in to the electronics store I was looking for an old school, simple USB, clear text keyboard with just a few extra media buttons. What I ended up getting was the Razor Lycosa Mirror Special Edition gamer keyboard. So much for basic and simple. A few of the items that attracted me to this keyboard was the High Gloss Mirror Finish keytops, Slim Keycap structure with Hyperesponse technology, touch panel media access controls, and a backlit illumination with WASD cluster lighting option. When I’m not writing, I game a lot. I also happen to make use of WASD on the games I play. So far, I’m quite happy with the new keyboard. The key clicks are there but very quiet and the backlit illuminated keys, something I got burned on with my last keyboard, are surprisingly brighter and readable. The keyboard also has a lower profile that most other keyboards, which is good for my hands since they don’t have to bend back at an angle as much. This completes my hardware purchase for NaNoWriMo. My next purchases will be snacks, candies, drinks, alcohol, and 2 cases of Red Bull. I might also have a pot of coffee on standby through out the month and I rarely drink coffee. Just got to be prepared to see my way through this thing.

On the writing and story creation front, I’ve been chipping away at my three main characters a little bit each day, slowly refining them all into believable characters with unique personalities. From this will grow the voice of each character and from that I hope to develop each character’s own voice/dialog. While looking for character and plot creation tools, I came across the resources of this helpful site – Lots of helpful PDF charts and excel sheets to makes things easier for us writers. Still no artwork yet, however, I think I’ll wait till this weekend to give that a try and do them all at once.

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Characters for NaNoWriMo

   Posted by: Jon    in Novels, Writing

Tonight, I finally have established my three main characters for Gorp: Goblin Janitor for NaNoWriMo 2010.

  • Gorp (protagonist) – is the main character of the story. He works at Ye Olde Dungeon for The Master Overlord as a goblin janitor and has just been award his 1 year skull.
  • Drut (foil) – is the sidekick for Gorp. He has just started work at Ye Olde Dungeon as a goblin janitor and works with Gorp who has been assigned his mentor.
  • The Dungeon Overlord (antagonist) – is the owner and ruler of Ye Olde Dungeon. This hobgoblin got his start in the lower minion ranks of the dungeon and has clawed his way up to the top after years of service.

This with these three semi-established characters I am ready to begin the next phase of my prep for NaNoWriMo 2010. I plan to draw and digitally paint a drawing of Gorp, Drut, and The Dungeon Overlord. I also need to have a basic map showing the local kingdom above Ye Olde Dungeon and it’s position in regards to the local towns, castles, and farms. After I have that I will then embark on another task of drafting up a map of most of the dungeon. The only established areas I have in the dungeon so far are a need for the Janitor’s Quarters where Gorp and Drut live and the Great Dungeon Hall, which resides at the lowest level of the dungeon. It also happens to be where the Dungeon Overlord lives. Considering that most of my book will be contained within this one dungeon, there will be many rooms and areas to explore, so I have my work cut out for me in the weeks ahead.

For the outline of the story, I am currently considering giving the book 10 chapters, roughly 5,000 words each for a 50,000 word novel. However, the story itself will most likely expand the total number of chapters and the word count between chapters will remain loose. 

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Pirate Metal

   Posted by: Jon    in Music

Never heard of this sub-genre of music until today.

While listening to the Renaissance Festival Podcast, I heard one of the show’s hosts mention Pirate Metal. One of her favorite Pirate Metal bands was called Alestorm. Curious, I did a quick search on iTunes on my iPhone and found two albums of theirs. The first one was ok, so I gave the second one a listen called “Captain Morgan’s Revenge”. I really liked the sound of pirate influences when mixed with metal, however, it wasn’t until I listen to the second to the last song on the album called “Wenches and Mead” that I declared Pirate Metal my kind of music. Granted, I was only listening to short sample clips of the songs, Wenches and Mead drew me into buying it right then and there on my iPhone. After listening to the song over and over on single loop, I shared it with some of my co-workers and right then and there made converts to the genre. It was quite nice to come across something refreshing in the music scene and who would of thought Pirate Metal made such blimey good tunes to work to?

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Preparing for NaNoWriMo 2010

   Posted by: Jon    in Novels, Writing

After seeing a few friends kick around the word NaNoWriMo and hearing about it on a writing podcast that I regularly listen to (Writing Excuses), I decided to check it out. NaNoWriMo stands for Nation Novel Writing Month. It is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to novel writing. Participants begin writing November 1. The goal is to write a 175-page (50,000-word) novel by midnight, November 30.

One of my life’s goals has always been to write a novel. With the excuse that NaNoWriMo provides me I thought 2010 would be a good year to kick off that dream and write it into reality. Although I still want and plan to write 100,000 word fantasy novels, I think a 50,000 novel is a good jumping on point. Originally, I had pondered writing a story in the world I am world building called “Agrobathe”. However, I’ve decided to wait until those 100,000 word novels before embarking on that journey and instead to write a self-contained story about Gorp, a goblin janitor. A simple janitor at the local Ye Olde Dungeon, has some ideas for changes in how things are run. He plans to work his way to the top, even if it gets the rest of the crew killed. It will be a Fantasy Comical Satire of sorts mixing years of playing Dungeons & Dragons and my real life of working  in corporate America. My main goal at this point is to finish it with 50,000+ words by November 30th, 2010. Once that is accomplished, I will use the holidays to take a break and come back to the story sometime early next year to do a re-write in order to polish it up into a publishable manuscript.

Concerning prep work for this journey, I have purchased and am currently reading through No Plot? No Problem: A low-stress, high-velocity guide to writing a novel in 30 days, by Chris Baty. I also plan to draw/color a sketch of Gorp the goblin along with sidekicks so that I can look at them as I write in order to help propel me onward and to lend a visual sense to my characters. At this point I’ve worked on an outline but haven’t flesh out anything more than a beginning, middle, and end. Also, still trying to decide if the 50,000 word novel should have 10 chapters or 20 chapters. A lot more character development is in order for Gorp, but I may pull back as I think my writing method for this venture will be that of a discover writer.

I’m not sure if I’ll be posting a daily update on this come November or not, but I do plan to post more prep work and at least blog my current status during NaNoWriMo.

My NaNoWriMo Page

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Mount & Blade: Warband

   Posted by: Jon    in Gaming, PC Gaming

Sir Ox Gildenhide

This has got to be one of my all time favorite games. It has by far the best horseback simulated gameplay I’ve ever seen. With the Warband expansion, it really adds more in regards to Multi-player gaming. The MOD community is pretty strong and I’ve played everything from a persistent RPG world like World of Warcraft to a normally multi-player game except that your information is saved to a database so you can level your player between games called “cRPG”. In fact, since coming across the cRPG mod I’ve not gone back to regular multi-player sessions. I have yet to beat the game in Native single player mode, but after 700+ game-days I’ve wiped out all but 3 remaining factions.

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