Camp NaNoWriMo, Day 21

It’s been a roller coaster ride writing Blue Moon for Camp NaNoWriMo. At this point, I have no idea if anything makes sense. To make matters worse – sort of – I’m just reaching the middle part of the story. I’m not sure if this is a good thing or a bad thing yet. Granted, I am writing a fantasy story so this story won’t be told in 50,000 words and I’m okay with that. This just means that I’ll have to keep writing to finish the story.

Since I won’t finish the story with 50k words, it got me thinking that maybe I can write the rest of the story in November for NaNoWriMo. But, I doubt I need 100k words to write this story. My best bet would probably be to find another project for November.

To be truthful, this is probably the most ambitious and difficult story for me. I have written fantasy before but not in this magnitude. I won’t lie, it’s a bit overwhelming and intimidating. But I haven’t let that get to me just yet. Sure, there have been instances over the past week where I haven’t completed all my word count for the day, but I haven’t fallen behind. If I do leave some words unwritten then, it’s no more 200 words. I’ve always caught up the following day.

Since I’m going on vacation next week, it’s going to be a bit harder for me to write but I will write and I will reach 50k words by July 31st. That is my goal. My deadline and I’ll meet it.

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.  

Camp NaNoWriMo, Day 3

I’m happy to announce that both my collaboration and side story are progressing as planned. So far, I’m keeping up with the word count. Luckily, I know how my side story is going to end so that has helped me quite a bit.

My sister and I are working hard on the collaboration project. Since there are two of us, we’ve been making some progress. Plus, with the extra pair of eyes, we can help each other reach the word count for the way. Some of the story has been planned out so we haven’t hit any writer’s block or anything. Even if we do, I’m confident we’ll be able to push past it.

One of the biggest issues I had to deal with today was with my side story. I’ve called it Blue Moon. This morning, I  started typing up notes to myself on how the story should progress. As I typed, I realized that I started the story with a scene that could be used later in the story.

Because of this, I wrote the beginning again. I think it was a good idea because the scene before will be of use later. With this beginning, I could show more of my main character’s characteristics and basically, why she belonged in this story. Plus, it also helps put into light her motivation for doing what she does and living how she has been living. Despite being the first draft, I like to make everything as perfect as I can the first time.

I know it won’t always be perfect and sometimes I just have to push through the awkward scenes and get to the other parts. It’s fine to skip around in my opinion. If I’m having trouble with a scene, I leave a note and move on. I don’t like feeling stumped because I can’t get a scene perfect. There’s a reason revision and editing exist.

For now, everything is going well. I hope my good luck streak continues.

Conflict: the bread and butter of a story

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As July approaches, my sister and I are hard at work planning out her story. By this point, I should say our story but that still feels weird. I don’t believe I will ever consider this story as mine because I had no say in the idea development. Saying that, if collaborating helps my sister finally write her story then I’m more than happy to do that.

Recently, we discussed the source of conflict of the novel. While we don’t have the most of the middle and the ending planned, we still wanted to plan out what would drive the story forward and what kind of obstacles the main character, Nina, would face. I like to term this discussion as: “how do I make the life of a character more difficult?”

First, we started with the external conflict. This conflict derives from external forces. Meaning, the conflict comes from outside forces like a flat tire on a way to a job interview. Or a jealous co-worker secretly sabotaging the main character’s report. It can also be two people arguing.

Now, Internal conflict comes from within the main character. I like to think of these as feelings or simple terms: the inner struggle. e.g. stopping to help someone who fell or hurry to an important appointment. Or pay your bills early or buy that book you have no room on yourself for. It’s also choosing right from wrong. Depending on the character and/or situation, right and wrong can be different.

Not only did my sister and myself identify where the conflict was coming from, we were also able to expand on those ideas. Furthermore, Nina, the MC, will be overwhelm with her new position and current one and she believes there’s been a mistake and waits for the moment where someone else replaces her. This leads to her work being sloppy and incompetent and it further leads to confrontation with the boss and others in the managerial positions.

I’m happy to say that Nina’s life will be very, very difficult.

On a different side note: two of my reviews are up. One of them is called Tubocity. The game is an endless runner as you try to see how far can you get as you jump and swipe your way past obstacles.

The other game is called Picture Perfect Crossword. It is exactly what is sounds like. Players are given a picture to name. They select letters at the bottom of the screen to fill out the crossword puzzle.

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.