Sunday, November 20, 2005

Plugging along

Hello all, just plugging along. Working characters, painting some models, getting blindsided by life, work, all that business.
First off, I have to say staying up late for three weeks to get miniatures painted for the Astronomi-con tournament was worth it. I still didn't finish, but 3:00am the Friday before the tourney I called it a night. Oh well, no painting points for me, but I was happy with the results on the models I did finish. Maybe later I'll post up some pictures. Otherwise, I had a blast. I won some games, lost some, but had lots of fun in some really cool battles against some awesome opponents. The sportsmanship level was incredible! What a great bunch of players. The organizers deserve every beer we had after the whole thing was over.
Sadly, that does little for the writing life, but I made my choices. As a friend and I adopted as our motto on a six day backpacking trip in Algonquin, "suck it up, nancy boy!" Always said with a smile, but you can never tell if it's a happy smile or the sweet cackle of madness!
On the writing front, I've been working up characters, trying to not only detail their lives, but get a feel for their voice. I had an interesting conversation with my main character this evening. She can be a testy one, let me tell you, but I think she'll do what I want.

Me, the author: So, Arin, are you ready for this?

Arin: Ready for what? Who are you anyway?

Me: I’m the author. It’s my job to tell your story.

Arin: Um, well, if it’s my story, then why aren’t I telling it? Who made you the Lord of the Books?

Me: I did. It’s my book.

Arin: It’s my story.

Me: Well, without me you won’t get it told.

Arin: Why not? I can tell a story as well as anyone.

Me: Yeah, but I’ve got the writing skill. You play ringette and are studying plants.

Arin: You’re an engineer, not a writer. Don’t feed me that line.

Me: Where did you find that out?

Arin: It’s a couple subfolders over. You really should watch the file sharing with Windows.

Me: We’re getting off point here. I need you to take a walk over to the library.

Arin: I was just there yesterday. I don’t need anything from there.

Me: Yes, but I hadn’t cast those guys yet. Go back.

Arin: No. What guys?

Me: Never mind. Just go get some books you forgot you needed. There is a test on Friday you know.

Arin: There is not!

Me: Oh yes there is, double-check your daybook. It’s there.

Arin: This wasn’t there before. Wait. That’s not my writing! You’re cheating!

Me: I would be if I wasn’t the writer. See my point?

Arin: Piss on you. I’m not going to the damn library, and you can’t make me!

Me: [typing] Arin was meandering up Queen St., heading for the town library.

Arin: What the F!$%*! I’m in my pyjamas! It’s freakin’ nine thirty! TAKE. ME. HOME.

Arin: NOW!!!!!!!!

Me: Temper temper. I’ll do what you want if you go to the library tomorrow.

Arin: Fine! I’ll go, for the extra material, for this stupid imaginary test, that I’ll pass with no problem anyway. Just to spite you.

Me: I’m fine with that. [typing] Sitting at her desk, Arin realized she had neglected to get the issue of Botany which had an article she needed to review for her upcoming test. She would have to head back to the library tomorrow.

Arin: And I don’t meander. It’s the walking equivalent of slouching.

Me: Whichever. We can revise.

Arin: If you have to revise, you aren’t much good then, are you.

Me: Everyone revises. It’s normal.

Arin: Uh huh.

Me: Off topic again.

Arin: Just shut up and go away. Come back when you’re starting this story.

As you can tell, this should be...interesting. At least I have her voice. Now if only I could get som cooperation.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Talyn giveaway

Been busy lately, but roving through my blogroll (no, I haven't put them up yet, someday soon...) I found the contest on Paperback Writer, for a signed copy of Talyn by Holly Lisle. To make the story short(er), I won one! How cool is that. The best part is that both Holly Lisle and PBW are two writers whose work and attitude I respect and admire (not to mention their unholy word counts). Holly's 'pay it forward' website basically ignited the storytelling fire that has been on my back burner for far too long, so this is just above and beyond.

On the writing front, it's been slow. I must confess I've been splitting my time between working up my novel and preparing for a Warhammer 40k tournament at the end of the month. (FYI; WH40k is a miniatures wargame, where you play out a battle with models you collect and paint. Just in case you didn't know.) Not good for progress, but sometimes you have to divert. I must say the break painting miniatures has helped bubble the creative juices. Then again, maybe it's all the quiet time putting paint on models where your mind has a chance to wander. Hmmm, maybe a half hour dose of painting before each writing session. That might by my 'silence' as Holly Lisle puts it.

So, I'm still working up my characters, but they are becoming kinda interesting. I like giving them odd quirks like favourite colours that are different, or preferences for little things, like a particular drink or something. Every day I walk through the office. These are people I've worked with for 3+years, and I always see some new tidbit. Nothing you'd have on a single paragraph character blurb, but details that make people real.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


you are palegreen

Your dominant hue is green. You're logical and steadfast, focused on figuring life out and doing what makes sense. You value being trusted because you know you're taking the time to figure things out and everyone should just follow you.

Your saturation level is lower than average - You don't stress out over things and don't understand people who do. Finishing projects may sometimes be a challenge, but you schedule time as you see fit and the important things all happen in the end, even if not everyone sees your grand master plan.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the html color quiz

Found at Pocket Full of Words

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Main character done (for now)

I finished the outline for my main character. I'm sure I'll add/modify/change lots by the end, but you need a framework to start with. Mostly I just worked it Q&A style, with no particular direction. Some advice from Julie Czerneda at Toronto Trek 19 and Holly Lisle's website made me try that method, and it really kind of works. You wouldn't think so, but the trick is to let the questions flow. The lack of direction can be good because we all are the sum of various parts, odds, ends, experiences and other 'stuff.' I think I have a good feel for her now, at least to start spinning the story. Of course, I still have lots of primary characters left, but now we're getting somewhere.

To make it even better, I have started this week with continuous writing sessions and even managed to work out yesterday. Considering how often I'm at a desk, that's a refreshing change. I seem to have found my sweet spot between 9 and 10pm for writing. I figure a minimum of an hour at the keyboard, then a half hour workout and bedtime. I am certain this fascinates the reader, but flexing the mind and the muscles is feeling pretty good. Besides, have to get ready for the ski trip this year, though we're not sure where. The elliptical trainer we bought on sale is just the stuff for those leg muscles used to ski.

Tomorrow on to the next character. The secondary hero in the book, and maybe a romantic interest. We'll see...

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Day Job Hangover

Finally back at some good writing work. Nothing like a good pummelling at the day job to keep you away from the writing desk. Ah well, have to pay bills and such. Not much choice there. What a delicious vicious circle; the writing is (hopefully, eventually) to get away from the industry day job, yet the day job must be attended to which interrupts writing. And I thought the automotive industry was mental! One thing I love in life are these tasty paradoxes. The things that make you laugh, shake your head, and realize just how deep yet ridiculous life can be.

Now that things are less maniacal at work, I've gotten some good work done. I finished my gazetteers for the three nations featured in Queen's Legacy (I even have a title, how 'bout that?), as well as some history, climate and other geographical stuff done. Sounds dry, but maybe my science background forces me to make everything realistic (in a fantasy novel, no less. Refer to paradox comment above) and sensible. Things like forests and rivers, and their interaction. Why you'd have a plains area or a mountain range in a certain spot. Verisimilitude, that's the word. Even if the reader isn't pulled up short, I would be. It has to make sense. Now I'm on to characters. I'm starting with a question-answer method to flesh out my initial ideas. I did have to take the time to make a matrix of characters. I had them flitting about my head too much. At least now I have a basic list of the major players in the story, with more likely to be added later. Just the person's name, title (if any) and a few brief notes in two columns labeled 'who' and 'what.' (i.e. who they are and what they're expected to do in the story). Tonight, now that the little one's in bed and the bills/laundry/sundry other tasks done I am going to start my main character. Fun and a little scary. Here we go...

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

And we're back!

Must remember to update more often, the number of comments shows you must be waiting with baited breath to learn of my next rambling. Hmmm, maybe not. Hah! Nevertheless, I have passed a long weekend getting much done. I hammered out page after page of worldbuilding, and am now becoming well-steeped in the world of Worrun. (A teaser, you say!)

For myself, I need to at least work over the locations, cultures and attitudes and some of the economies involved in my new fantasy world. Next I need to detail my basic ideas about magic and a few other things. I'm kinda putting off the character development for now. It's kinda freaky, as it's probably not my strongest point and will take much, much more effort. Plot and story I probably have the easiest time of. Sort of a way of knocking off the easier bits before chewing some real background scenery.

The best way so far is to do a similar treatise to what I often do with Role-playing worldbuilding. Once I detailed the basic plot, I knew I needed at least two nations, a reason for conflict between them, and maybe some interesting geographical features. Then I start with a map. Once the map is mostly done, I start doing a gazetteer of the locations. Nothing crazy, just a sentence to a paragraph to a page, until I run out of ideas for each spot. While I'm doing that my pen is generally busy naming (or re-naming) places, and making margin notes. I've found that every step seems to form a feedback loop to the story, or characters, or places, so that the web tightens. I presume that's a good sign, but hey, I'm doing it anyway.

Well, that's it for now folks. The day job calls, and I must return to the breach! Maybe next update I'll give my idea of a timeline for writing. (if anyone tells the people I work with I said that, I'll have to smack ya. I hate timelines...)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

What mythological form?

You are Form 5, Dragon: The Weaver.
"And The Dragon seperated the virtuous from
the sinful. He tore his eyes from his sockets
and used them to peer into the souls of those
on trial to make a judgement. He knew that
with endless knowledge came endless

Some examples of the Dragon Form are Athena
(Greek), St. Peter (Christian), and Surya
(Indian).The Dragon is associated with the concept of
intelligence, the number 5, and the element of
wood.His sign is the crescent moon.
As a member of Form 5, you are an intelligent and
wise individual. You weigh options by looking
at how logical they are and you know that while
there may not always be a right or wrong
choice, there is always a logical one. People
may say you are too indecisive, but it's only
because you want to do what's right. Dragons
are the best friends to have because they're
willing to learn.

Which Mythological Form Are You?
brought to you by

Monday, July 18, 2005

History 101

Whew, been busy lately. However, got my world mapped out and a bunch of locations figured out. I highly recommend a program like Campaign Cartographer or such, but maybe that's my engineer's love of drawings...
Now that everything's mapped, I'm noodling around a brief Gazetteer so that I can at least get the basics recorded. I know I'll be changing, tweaking and otherwise changing everything as the story progresses, but I have found that without wrapping my head around the locations I don't have the visuals in my head. I've give myself until Sunday to finish at least the basics, but I may alter my timeline if I get on a roll and give myself another week.
It's kinda funny, in that I'd love to get published and leave an industry that is addicted to timelines, schedules, plans and such, yet rely on framing my work in ... guess what ... a timeline. Still, for me it's effective to know that there's a plan to it all. Time given to worldbuilding and character development. Otherwise it would feel more like I'm doing all the prep work and not -really- writing. Of course, were my writing to earn a sale, there'd be the deadlines, but somehow it sounds more dire with deadline than timeline.
Then again, maybe I'm still slightly addled from too much fun and too little sleep at the convention.
Nice, now you're rambling. Then again, why not. It -is- my blog after all. :-)

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Back to the world

Finally! Back to worldbuilding. Been a busy week, with my family on holiday, leaving me to build the fence for our (somewhat) newly sodded back yard. Isn't that nice of them? :-) Seriously, it takes several hours just to get everything staked out, material ordered, then arrange for delivery.
So after collapsing in a heap for two days after I and the neighbours did four yards in two days (yeah, yeah, whine-bitch-complain), I finally got back on track with my world building. Which basically consists of me writing myself questions, and answering them so that I can run through the logic. Fortunately there's no one with me or they'd think me stark, raving mad as I have a conversation with myself (including much hand-waving and gesticulation). Probably not foolproof, but when I compile the Q&A into my 'bible,' I can tweak the inconsistencies. Then map it out and move on to more character work. It's kinda fun, but I want to make sure it's real. Sounds kinda odd coming from a fantasy book, but you have to make things real for that world.
Sooner or later I'll get the progress bar up for my book. As soon as I figure out how to code it up. Once more unto the learning curve...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Still figuring things out

I'm still figuring out this blog post thing and styling up the page. Patience, must have patience.
So some may ask, why? Why does anyone care? Well, truth be told, I'm not interested in people caring (though it's nice if you do), but more in paying forward for the kickstart I got from sites like Holly Lisle's (, which have given me more than I could expect for the beginning writer. Since I'm a newbie, maybe by describing my journey to publishing (must think positive!) it can smooth the road for someone else. Maybe someone will benefit from the growing pains of my own writerly career.
That and sometimes it's fun to just rant a little, or blow off some steam. And if other writers (or future readers - positive thinking again) drop by, maybe they'll leave a note or two.
Have fun!

Monday, July 04, 2005


Welcome to those who have wandered here! This is my gathering of words, wisdom, and various and sundry other details I find interesting. I can't guarantee relevance to anything else in life, but I'll give you honesty, maybe something to think about, and if (when!) I ever get published, some snippets of work to whet your appetite. Otherwise, just sit back, chill with me and maybe we'll both learn something.
Best regards,