Daniel Cheney
Regular Spelling
Thoughts and observations about language
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NaNoWriMo III: Stretch Goals

So it's near the end of the month, let's take a moment to look at the progress: 

What's that? Over the 50K goal? Yep. And I'm not done with the story yet, I still have quite a bit more to write. But unlike last year, where I just wrote to the minimum goal and quit writing because of other work, I want to finish. I want to finish by the end of the month. And i want to finish with an even better milestone, having really pushed myself. Because while I said originally I wasn't going to be particularly looking at publishing this in any way (although I will be, as before, ordering myself some self-published draft copies for my collection), I have been showing this to several people as I've went along, and will show it to some more, and I want them to have a full story to read. And I want myself to have a full story to read. I still don't know what new twists may come up that i hadn't planned, like has been happening so far. So I want something rich.

So I set a new goal. Finishing by the end of the month. Finishing with over 75K word count now, since I've surpassed the 50K goal already. I've come this far, but I still have a lot farther to go. But I can do this.

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Date: 25 Nov 2014 - 22:15
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NaNoWriMo III: This Isn't What We Meant

Writing fiction isn't so much about ordering characters around, so much as it is about letting them express their story their way. Sometimes you may get an idea of how a scene will go, but then when you actually sit to write it it doesn't work out the way you thought it would. Often only slightly, but sometimes drastically. Writing yesterday gave me one such experince like that: back when I first wrote down notes for this story I had thought up a scene for this book where Exelia would get drunk and get into a fierce argument with James. I had thought it all out, planned, and wrote down the points that I wanted to hit on in their argument. But when it came down to actually writing it, what the two of them did wasn't even close to what I had in mind. And it baffled and surprised me.

As it turned out, despite what I thought would happen, the character of Exelia's not at all an angry drunk. What I figured was sure to be an argument ended up turning into Exelia being a remorseful emotional wreck. And it worked perfectly. I sat back after finishing last night, looked at what i had written, and found no reason to try and change it to match what my idea was. This is who they were, this is what they did, and this is what fit their personalities. But then I was faced with a new problem. James was supposed to storm out in the argument, leave, and have the next thing in the story happen to him that would move the story along. Now, without the argument, there was no more reason for him to leave her, and now I didn't know how to move along the story.

It was on my mind all morning trying to reconsile this scene. I couldn't figure it out. Letting the characters do their own thing ended up veering so far off course than what I had envisioned that I couldn't find the path back. I spent all day trying to figure it out, trying to undo the mess they created, when i finally realized I should just leave it to them. Let them progress naturally from there. And so once i put hand to keyboard and started letting them play it out from there, everything fell neatly into place, creating the perfect opening to continue with where I wanted to take the story, the setup even better than what I had planned ahead for.

In short, sometimes it's best to just let the characters write your story themselves.

Tags: ,
Date: 08 Nov 2014 - 16:38
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NaNoWriMo III: What Happened To NaNoWriMo II?

Well it's been a while since I've written anything on here, much longer than it should have been. It's NaNoWriMo time once again, and time to write a novel once again. This will be the third time I participate in this. But it turns out I wrote nothing when I did it last year, so what happened then? 

Well last year I was busy with a contract during November as well, so any time I wasn't spending writing was spent programming that, so apparently it just slipped my mind right after that. Last year's novel was a new original story and not in any of my existing storylines, and when I hit the goal I was only 2/3 of the way done with the story I had come up with. But since I was in the middle of contract work at the time once I hit the goal I pretty much had to stop, and after that I lost my stride and haven't really been able to figure out where I want to go with it to finish the story. Once I do I want to really look at cleaning that up and getting it published, because I think that one has so much more potential being standalone then what I worte the year before being part of a larger story, so that's what I want to work on after this month. But that's then.

As for now, what I'm writing this year is a side story in the middle of one of my main storylines, titled tentativley Project "James And Exelia Go On Vacation" because I suck at coming up with titles until later on. It's basically a workup of a few various ideas I've had pop into my head over the last year or two mostly as I've been playing Final Fantasy XIV, since I'm known to make up random fake lore on the spot to other players in my Free Company in the game to explain things in the game. A culimnation and reworking of the fake lore items I've come up with peiced together to tell their own story, which if you were familiar with XIV you migth recognize where some of it was inspired from, but if I hadn't told you beforehand you probably wouldn't. But either way this one necssarily won't be published in this form anyway, because it's being written as a standalone work and would have to be heavily edited later as I wrote other works around it so everything would line up correctly. 

Aside from that, there's more work that I need to get around to doing on this site, of course. The Twitter feed's been broken ever since the 1.0 API cutoff was done, and I don't think it even works anymore. There's a few pending articles I started and never finished, I was going to dump an archive of old dream journal things I recoverd from NotebookForums when it shut down earlier this year but haven't yet, and there's an article I want to write thats actually on topic of what the original theme of this blog was (which I haven't written much on topic for quite a while, really), but that's based on a TV show I've been watching, which actually ended a while back and I don't want people to spoil the ending for me by saying what show it is, so that will come up later. Also, I've been working on a text adventure again, which I'll be hosting on this site, which I'll go into more in December when I get back to working on it more. 

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Date: 01 Nov 2014 - 14:07
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Dream: The Great Shoe Dilemma

This one's from a couple weeks ago, and I forgot to post it here.

I was at a Shop-ko, at their used games desk, looking through old NES/SNES games. My right shoe fell off, and someone in the crowd stole it. So I'm looking around for it, and the person at the games desk tells me 'oh, well just go talk to the customer service desk at the shoe department and tell them one of your shoes was stolen on the property and they'll give you a new pair'. Except the one at that particular Shop-ko is closed so the person says 'oh you can go to any shop-ko and tell them that, it's fine'. So I try using their website to find another store with a shoe department open. Their website's store locator sucks, tries telling me the closest one is in Boise, and also tells me that like Tremonton or something is to the very west of the state (where its actually way to the north). And then its apparently theres just a Shop-ko shoe store inside my old Jr. High school, which is still functioning as a school aside from the shoe store in it.

So I go there, its the evening and so theres no students around but the buildings open for the shoe store to do business, except when i get there the band is packing up instruments and stuff getting ready to go on some tour (the band being the band/orchestra class). so im walking through them while the teacher's giving instructions, and he makes some comment and i come back with a funny quip, because he remembers me, and then i continue on into the building trying to figure out where the shoe store is. I can't find it. So I come back to the band students again and im cahtting with the teacher asking about where the shoe store is and what they're up to, and he tells me they're going on tour, and he'd surely welcome an old student of his to come perform and invites me to come along, and hey look there's even an instrument for for me to use. He pulls out this old trumpet which i apparently left behind when i was no longer in the school and they still had lying around these 14 years later. So I take it and they want to make sure I can still play, so i play a scale. I'm barely able to do it, because when I finish i pull out the valves to show them that they are all rusty (which they were originally which is why i left it behind apparently) and declined to go with them because that instrument was unusable. An yway, apparently by then the shoe store was closed, so I get ready to leave, and then the building catches on fire. So I help everyone quickly get the rest of the instruments out of the building before the fire spreads to that end of the building, and they finish packing up and heading out and i head off to find another Shop-ko shoe store.

Mind you all this time I still was without a right shoe.

Date: 28 Jul 2014 - 08:02
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Dream: Leave Old Equipment Repairs To The Professionals

So I had this dream that I was working at some company in Orem, Utah (as denoted by the way the dream identified the locations), doing whatever. This one Sunday my work was having some big party for some football game, but I didn't want to be part of it so I went down to Provo and was walking around in the neighborhoods there, and met up with someone I know there. At one point we walked by some old house with switches and things for an old surveillance and recording system on the outside of it, and while we were looking at that the curtains above it were opened and this old couple looked out at us. They were talking to us about having trouble loading their cable television channels, wired to this really old TV by bare wire wrapped around two terminals on the back of the television, which since the back of the TV faced the window I could see that one of them came out. We were talking about with the age of their equipment replacing it all would be really expensive and getting internet and a cheap laptop to watch Hulu and Netflix would be cheaper, but they said there were reasons they couldn't wire the house for internet. So I offered to try a quick fix from what I could see, grabbed a small wooden pencil from my acquaintance, and went inside the house.

The main hallway had the entrance to the living room closed by a door, and the couple stayed inside there. They let me in, and closed the door behind me with the old man staying by the door. This struck me as odd but I ignored it, and went over to the television and reattached the wire. The cable came back, they thanked me, but as I went to leave they blocked my path. As it turned out, the two were cannibals and were going to kill me and eat me now that they had me trapped. I pushed them out of the way and ran out the door, with the old man, much sprier than I would have expected, following close behind me and into the street. I ran from him for a few minutes, barely staying ahead of him, until I found a passing pickup truck that I grabbed onto and hitched a ride with.

The truck had three firefighters in it that were heading home from their long shift, and they didn't mind giving me a ride back to Orem. They drove along the streets until they got out of the residential district, and everything was fine for a while, but as they began heading into a narrow cliff pass between Orem and Provo (note: this doesn't exist in real life) I heard a sound from behind us, and looked back to see that the woman was running after us. Running, at extremely insane superhuman speed, and many times the speed the truck was going. While I was screaming several times in fright, she tried grabbing onto the truck, so I threw her off and climbed up on top of the cabin, explaining quickly to the riders who she was. She disappeared, and we thought she fell behind, but she started laughing and had apparently grabbed on and was holding on underneath the truck, and from there she killed everyone inside. The truck swerved and went down over the cliff, and I jumped off and started running again.

I ran until I reached the bike lot of some business at the end of the cliff pass, and then stole an unchained mountain bike to ride on. I pushed the gears as high as I could and pedaled like no tomorrow, riding past the businesses trying to get away, heading for the train to take me back to Salt Lake City. I happened to ride by a business I recognized from somewhere, though, and as I thought about it I realized it was the business whose name was written on all that equipment at the old couple's home. I decided to head in there instead, and began ranting to them about what happened. I looked back out the window and saw the old lady was running this way again, so I jumped up and held onto the ceiling, and demanded that they take responsibility for what was going on and stop her from trying to kill me. She came in and started calmly explaining what was going on to them, and with some quick thinking on their part, declared me to be a contractor doing work for them and gave me some paperwork to sign, which made her and her husband bound by her contract with the company not to touch me.

Date: 26 May 2014 - 06:41
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