Catching Up

Well, I’m officially behind work count but it’s only by 300 words. I didn’t exactly plan to be behind it just that I play Dungeons and Dragons on Fridays (well most Fridays anyways) and, unfortunately, after that four hour campaign, I was too tired to finish writing. 

Overall, Blue Moon still has a lot of work on it. The beginning is going to change yet again. I don’t need to type up anything new. At this point it is all about rearrange scenes. I won’t do that as of right now because I don’t want that to me my main focus. For now, I need to be writing and not worrying about how the story is going to start.

I have typed up a brief summaries of my scenes. That way, I’ll have them “in sight” and I don’t have to go back through the document to find them. I was thinking of using note cards to jot the scenes down so I would be able to rearrange them “physically”. Or maybe if I had a program or a website where I could do that – that could also work. So if anyone knows of a good website or program for a storyboard that let’s me rearrange scenes then let me know. I’ll be looking into that sort of stuff.

The story with my sister is going well. It’s a work in progress because at this point, I’m making things up. It’s all been pull out of thin air. My sister hasn’t complained about it so that’s good. Our plot for that story is holding strong. It’s all “according to plan” so to speak.  

Plans for Camp NaNoWriMo & Planning

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As June starts, I’ve come to realize that Camp NaNoWriMo (for July 2017) is only 25 days away. While this might seem far off, it usually gets here in a flash. This is why I have started thinking about which of the many stories in my idea notebook I’m going to flush out and write.

Instead of writing a paranormal story like I’ve done in the past, I’m going to try my hand at writing in the fantasy genre. Luckily for me, I have plenty of those ideas but I have asked myself “are any of these ideas ready to be a story?” The answer is yes. There are actually two ideas that I can develop further for a plot that makes sense (to me).

However, when I tried to develop one of those stories, it wasn’t a walk in the park. I had the idea of the world and how it worked in relation to the story. I wrote the history behind the founding of a guild that was going to be in the forerunner of the story. My characters were listed and the theme of the story was clear. Yet, when I thought about the details and how the story was going to unravel, my mind drew a blank.

Well, it wasn’t exactly a blank per say. I had the beginning chapter or so but afterwards, I don’t have any idea where the story would go from there. I know the end destination; I just don’t know how to get there.

The other story however, is more flushed out. I even wrote the story as a film once. All I’m keeping from that is the core story and theme. I did have to move some characters around and add new ones but for the most part I know what’s going to happen. I have scenes planned out and I know how to get to the end. So, there’s no competition between the stories, right?

Well, there is 25 days left until July. I do have time to plan and think about the first idea. Plus, it’s not like I can’t plan out both stories and decide which story I want to write more. Even so, the only thing I want to avoid is starting a story and having no idea what’s going to happen next. If I really think about it, I guess that’s what NaNoWriMo is all about (in a way). How well can you make up a story in a month?

Okay, no. That’s not what NaNoWriMo is all about but it is my take on it. At least for the moment it is.

For now, I’ll just welcome the time I have left until July. There’s no rush and there is only so much planning I can do before I need to write.

D&D: Writing you own Campaign

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What’s Dungeons and Dragons have to do with writing a story? Everything.

To those who aren’t familiar with D&D, I’ll give you a quick overview. Dungeons and Dragons is a table-top, fantasy, role-playing game set in the Forgotten Realms. Those familiar with R.A. Salvatore‘s Drizzt Do’Urden might know a little something about the world. For those who don’t know Drizzt then take a look at the popular show Stranger Things. Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will played D&D in the pilot of the show and even in the last episode.

The major component about the game is storytelling and that’s where this post comes in. For starters, there is ‘a lot’ to know about playing D&D but I won’t go into too much detail. Instead, I’ll focus on how to build your own campaign for what’s called a ‘home-brew game.’ This term just means that you made a game set in the Forgotten Realms. It can also mean that you created your own world and are simply using the game mechanics of D&D like the dice rolling, the encounters, etc.

I should also mention that I went to Compicpalooza 2017 and was able to take down notes on many of the panels. The topic for this post was selected from my many notes so, in essence, it’ll be an overview of the advice and tips that I received.

  1. There’s no order in building your campaign and that holds true with writing.

You can start with your characters (in this case it can be your NPCs – the many roles you’ll take on as a DM (Dungeon Master – the one who runs the campaign)). If possible, it’s best to add as many NPCs beforehand. If needed, ‘someone’ will exist for your ‘adventures’ to come talk to and you won’t have to manifest them on the spot and remember them later.

Or your world. Or an object players (the ‘heroes’) have to find or destroy. That’s for you to decide.

Perhaps even your antagonist. This can be from anything you really want – a blood mage or a dragon.

However, for those building your own world, the terrain/ the environment is something to keep in mind. Is it mountainous? Plains? Forest? The Sea? The adventure will depend on what kind of area the players have to traverse. Plus, it would also make the encounters (the ‘enemy/beasts) plays will have to fight.

For the world building, you don’t have to know how to draw a map. There are pre-made maps and map generators available. Like donjon; RPG Tools. There are a lot of resources online to make it easier.

2. Basic Fundamentals of the World

The more details you know about your world the better. Just like writing anything, it is best to know almost everything you need to know about your world. That way, you won’t have to make things up on the spot and possibly forget about it later. I’m not saying it’s bad to make things up but I find that it disrupts the flow of the story. Plus, if you do have everything planned then it makes the world seem more real. Not only that but if you know the relationships between towns or tribes then you can use that as a source of conflict (if needed).

3. Managing your players

It’s not really a rule of thumb but your players are what makes the story. As the DM, you create the story and basically, the players help you write it. The story may go on a different path that you intended but it’s okay. Plans are subjected to change. It’s not like the story went out the window or anything. The DM is there to help guide the players through the story. There has to be some level of control but don’t force them to stay on that path only. Let them explore.

Whatever you don’t use then recycle it for another adventure. I do that in writing all the time. I can’t use something in one story but if I can use it in another story, then I will.

Like any story, there are going to character backstories. As a DM, you can use these to create a different arc or build it into the story. Just give your players something to care about. That’s what the core is for any story. Keep them invested.

Final thoughts:

Have fun. If you’re not having fun then why would your players be?Don’t get caught up in the details. They’re more like guidelines.

Beta Reading and a Thesaurus 

I didn’t spend a lot of time writing today. In fact, I didn’t do much writing. What I did end up doing was beta reading through serveral pages of acquaintances’ stories. This was mostly due to the fact that I was avoiding my computer because I used it a lot during November and I, sort of, neglected my reading responsibilities. Either way, I got through a lot of pages today.

I could have read through more but these certain pages needed many comments and suggestions on setting, sentence structure, and missing words. It’s not like I mind the extra work. I’ve told them to let me know if they don’t want me to stop picking out bad grammar. So far, they haven’t said to stop. This also helps me in a way because reading other people’s work not only gives you an opportunity to come in contact with a different writing style, you can avoid some mistakes that you may see in someone’s work and vice versa. I believe that one can always learn something from reading other’s works. 

There was one story that I read today that appeared to be vomitted on by a thesaurus. This is possibly the harshest thing that I have said. I mean it in the nicestest of ways too. It wasn’t as bad as I make it sound but there were a few words that didn’t belong there. I couldn’t even figure out what the original word was meant to be. This isn’t a warning about uaing a thesaurus but more like something to keep mind. 

Usually, I used a thesaurus so that my writing and certain words become repetitive. For example:

It’s not like this person had every word changed. It just so happened to be in one paragraphed and I had trouble figuring out what they were  to describe. You can say that this was my lesson for today.

Struck by Inspiration 

I’ve mentioned this before, I think, that I have multiple projects going on at one time. It’s really hard for me to focus on just one story. Plus, it doesn’t help that my brain vomits new ideas almost every week. I would be lost without my idea notebook. 

Today just happened to be the day that I got struck by inspiration  to write the next chapter of The Vampire Prince goes to High School on wattpad. Yes, I know how it spounds. Don’t judge me. However, I will say that I’m working with themes such as discrimination, issues over species, being a bystander, among other subjects. I’m not sure how effectively I’ve executed those themes but the intent is there. 

It’s taken me a long time to write this story but it’s a story that I want to write and I want to finish no matter how long it takes. Although, I didn’t get to write much on Spirit Guardians or work on all the stories I have to beta read, I don’t feel bad. I’m trying to avoid putting too much on my plate right now. While I can multi- task, I don’t want to drown myself. There is no pressure to finish beta reading those super fast. So I got time.

For now, I’m just going to go with the flow. I’m still going to work on Spirit Guardians but if inspiration hits for another, I won’t turn my back.