Friday, September 22, 2017

Making Up Words

So this post is up late. I didn't have time to write it before. But here it is now.

What I've been thinking about lately, and may have nothing to do with my NaNo project, are conlangs. Constructed languages. That's your Klingon, your Dothraki, your Trigedasleng.

I'd like to create a language sometime, for a story. I think it would be fun. And in a situation like that, you don’t really need a whole language. Just enough of one to say what you want to say and make it feel like there's a whole language hiding under there.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

This Is the Road to Ruin and We’re Starting at the End

Well, if you missed the last post, I've moved on from the space story for now because I didn't like where it was headed. I might come back to it later, when I figure out how to make it not suck.

So for the moment, I'm left with trying to figure out what to write for NaNo. I have a few random ideas floating around, but nothing I can expand into 50,000 words. I'd like to actually create an outline for this one, so know more or less how the story goes, and what needs to happen when.

Half the time, I start a story and then can’t figure out how it's supposed to end. So right now I'm toying with the idea of figuring out the ending first, and working my way backwards. That might be interesting. First figure out where the characters end up, then work out how they got there.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Moving On

I was going to write this post about another little thing I realized about my villain, but I'm not going to do that, because it's not terribly exciting. So here's where I'm at. I've created this very dramatic relationship between these two characters, which is going to make for a very dramatic story. And also a very boring story. They say you should write the kind of books you want to read. I wouldn't want to read this. It's a domestic drama set in space. It's not fun. I want to write something fun.

"So make it fun," you might say.

That would be the ideal, but sometimes stories go into a tailspin of mediocrity and it's hard for me to pull them out of it. They just get worse and worse until they crash in an explosion of disappointment and I shove them in a drawer. Sometimes my attempts at writing better just makes the result worse. Of course, it's also possible that I've just learned more, so now I can see how bad it is, but the writing itself remains the same.

I don't think I'll be writing the space story for NaNoWriMo. From what I have, my characters are kind of interesting and have some potential, but I can't slog through 50,000 words of the inevitably boring plot right now. I might come back to it later, maybe write a shorter story. Something where I don't need to add chapters of filler just to meet the word goal.

Now, you might say, "But I thought it sounded like a great plot." And maybe it is. If you're into family drama. I want an exciting, fun story with adventures and explosions. But the corner I've plotted myself into precludes that. Now everyone has to deal with their emotions and grief and try to find a way to move forward. It’s super dramatic, and super boring to me.

So now I have a month and a half to figure out something better, something more exciting. Stay tuned, I guess?

I'll see you Tuesday.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Conflicting Ideas

My villain character creation is by no means complete, but I think I have a good idea of what kind of a person she is. I understand her reasoning. The question that is now arising is what is she going to do about it? What actions is she going to take against the protagonist?

Now I know the relationship between the two of them. They were basically family once. Now everything's gone and broken. How far is she going to go? Does she want him miserable, or destroyed?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Where Do Space Babies Come From?

The quest for Elsbeth's backstory continues, and the other day, I asked myself, "Self, what did happen to the boy's father?" The boy of course being her son, who still doesn't have a name. I think I thought of something, but then forgot it immediately.


My initial thought, a month ago, was that family dynamics are just different in space. But then Tycho, the protagonist, had both parents and lost them both, collectively, together. Implying a typical family arrangement.

So the question returned. What happened to the boy's father? He can't be dead, because there's a limit on how much tragedy I'll dole out per person. Yes, even I have limits.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Staying on Task

Well, here we are again. And I'm woefully unprepared, as usual.

I keep coming up with all this other stuff for the space story. The protagonist has appeared, complete with a name for once, but I keep pushing all that aside. Because I have to finish Elsbeth. I have to make her a real person. This is what usually happens, and why I end up with shallow characters. I get distracted by shinier parts of the story, and abandon the boring details.

So here I am, wondering how Fomalhaut and Aldebaran1 figure into this story, with this ship endlessly coasting among the stars, but I have to stay here and decide on my antagonist's political views. And religion. And what word or phrase she uses a lot.

I had one goal. Make one good, solid character. And my god, is that hard.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Music of the Spheres

We're returning to Mad's Music Corner for something that's actually relevant to the project at hand. That's right: Space Music.

Now, if we wanted to go all futuristic, we'd probably go electronic. We're not going to do that. I'm not a fan of electronic music, and I can't make a soundtrack out of things I don't want to listen to.

It's a little tricky, because I still don’t know what the plot is, but I hope that this can help us get into the world and the characters a little better. And I'll be linking them instead of embedding them, which should help the post load better for anyone with a slower connection.

So without further mindless drivel…

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Family Comes First

So here I am, trying to complete Elsbeth as a character, trying to figure out all these stupid little details. But then I stepped away from all these questions and asked something that might actually matter: What kind of a mother was she?

I did a little backstory freewriting, and I learned some things. The most important of which was that the protagonist of this tale was orphaned at the age of 12, and since he was her son's best friend, Elsbeth took him in. He became like another son to her. And her boys always had each other's backs. Until they didn't.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Grinding Gears

The quest for character creation continues. Today we're going to talk about those little things that people hate: pet peeves. Now, I'm only going to say that phrase once, because I hate it, for some reason. I think that's one of those things that people call "ironic" but is actually something else.

Anyway, I think dislikes are just as interesting as likes. What drives a person to hate something? Why do those things bother them? Are they like me, in that they just dislike the thing and don't have or remember a reason behind it? Did someone once do or say the thing, it all went bad, and now that experience has ruined the thing for them forever?

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

In Space, No One Can Hear You Mispronounce Their Name

I'm going to talk about names. Weird names, specifically.

I have a lot of opinions on weird names. They tend to crop up in sci-fi and fantasy, and sometimes, they're terrible. If I'm considering reading a book, I will turn right around if the characters have stupid names. I get a newsletter or whatever for free or cheap e-books, and I have seen some awful names. As in, they took a perfectly normal name threw it in a blender and hit puree. They were trying to make something exotic, probably, but you can still tell what name they started with.

Also, names that are unpronounceable. I narrate everything in my head, so it's important that my brain can articulate a name. And if everyone in a story has weird, unpronounceable names, especially if any of them are similar to each other, I'm going to continually forget who is who. That's why I haven't read The Kalevala yet. It's Finnish mythology, which I'd like to know more about, but Lemminkäinen is the only name I can ever seem to remember.