Monday, November 1, 2010

Mindless Porn, and Other Shortcuts.

Wow, it's been about two weeks since I last updated this.  Normally, especially during nano season, I'm right on top of things, but this year alone has done a huge toll on me mentally and emotionally, to the point that even writing is unable to give me an outlet to my more destructive tendencies. But this is not my personal journal, and if you're also following my personal journal then I'm sure you're sick and tired of listening to me whine about shitty therapists, concern trolls, and emotional trauma!  So with that sordid excuse out of the way, let's talk Nanowrimo.
My main issue since my last posting is that I fell considerably behind (because of my ~issues~) and just did not meet my goal of finishing the first draft manuscript of CROSS//Rebirth.  It happens.  The issue that followed though was  I had no idea what to do about Nano.  It was my original intent to start work on Revenge, the first time in the history of Nano that I would start fresh on a manuscript and not be a "rebel" (I hate that term, ugh.)  But I am also close enough to finishing the other story that...well, you know!  

So I bet you're just dying to know what I'm doing.

Well, as of about 1 am on November first, I started writing.  A fresh document on a fresh story.  And not even an hour later I was annoyed because I hate writing sequels!  I hate it because of my own writing issues, mostly because I forget that I have to assume the reader never read the first one and I have to reintroduce all the people and their relationships to each other, the highlights of the previous novel, what's going on with this one and why it's important...all the while molding it into the current story so the reader gets the info without being bombarded by it.  I think the hardest thing is that I don't have closure with the previous story, because it's not finished yet.  So I'm going from all the characters angsting over the world ending and firing bullets at each other to everyone frolicking down the street and offering coffee to each other.  (Okay, not -literally-, but it's a fun image.)  Bit odd, really.  But I'm working on it, and hopefully after the first chapter I can move on normally.  Depending on I figure out what I'm writing about, of course.. 

Meanwhile there's lots of ML stuff I'm doing, such as getting ready for a write-in this Wed. and another on Sunday.  I hope they go well.

And with that, it's almost midnight which means I need to write about another three-thousand, which is about my daily goal at this point, since I'll be absent this weekend and the n ext.  At this exact moment I am confident I will win again, but the way my feelings keep jumping up and down it's also possible I will just break down halfway through. We'll see.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

More NaNoWriMo Wank!

Yesterday I got my Nano stuff in the mail. Most of it was gifted to me, so I only had to pay for the posters. I like the one poster, it's made of great quality, is really colorful, and has all the goals for each day on it. The other poster is a standard Night of Writing Dangerously promo poster that I don't really need. I also got the ML shirt that actually looks pretty good on me, and a keychain, which you can't really see. I only had to pay for shipping. Yay! Still no ML stickers though, but maybe those were shipped separately. I spent most of today canvassing my region leaving Nano promo posters at places like libraries, so let's hope it brings in some new members! This next week I need to put out some dates and locations for write-ins so I can get some feedback on them. Two more weeks! (And two more days until my birthday, ugh.)

I'm up to god knows how many words now, but it doesn't matter anymore because I should be able to finish the draft before November. I'm taking a break today because I'm so tired and need to rest my mind a bit. I'll probably take a break on my birthday too. Hopefully I won't need those 4000 words.

So many words.

Not a high enough typing speed.


Monday, October 11, 2010

This is starting to look a little "iffy'.

Well, ten days in (I haven't written today yet) and here are the current numbers:
Total Words Written in October: 13,307
Average Words Per Day: 1,331
Behind By: 3,363

Not too bad when I finally look at the numbers like that. My original goal was to write the standard 1667 a day, but I switched that up to 2000 when I was starting to fall monstrously behind only a few days in. It helps now that I can finally see the ending of the draft coming, even if it feels so slow getting to it. If I keep writing 2k a day I should be able to more than meet my goal, but of course, the ultimate goal is finishing this draft before November. Easier said than done!

Also from the Nano news from, my job as regional ML is finally starting to begin as members come out of the woodwork on the site. Currently there are 13 people signed up to my region (it's a small region, okay - there were 63 last year.) and about six have said hi so I'm counting that as a success, ha. Pretty soon right around my birthday I'll have to start planning a kickoff party, and hopefully people will like it. Tonight I'll be printing off fliers to post in the libraries and bookstores around here, which is a GOOD IDEA because so far all my people are coming from North Bend and that's on the opposite end of the county.

You know what, screw this. It's taken me TWO HOURS to get this blog entry done. I've gotta go write guys. I'VE GOTTA GO WRITE.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Number Games: A Beginning in Fail

After recently declaring that I intended on finishing the manuscript for CROSS//Rebirth by November so I could purely work on the next installment and get its first 50k words in for NaNoWriMo...I'm kinda failing already.  Well, not totally. So far for October I've written 3322 words, but that still leaves me behind and blahblahblah.  At this point I'm not entirely sure I will be able to make it...and then what?  I am close enough to finishing this manuscript that it would not be worth doing Nano for just to immediately start the next one in the same month. At this point my goal is just to get as much as possible done, whether it's 30k or 50k or just the few remaining chapters I have scripted out.

 It also does not help that I had an author's revelation on the series-running plot last night.  I had one of those "HOLY CRAP WHAT IS GOING ON WITH THIS CHARACTER" moments and while totally  awesome, it will require doing a lot of rewriting in certain spots when I start to do revisions on the current manuscript.  Basically, what I'm getting at is...I have a lot to do, and not a lot of physical time to do it in.  I would love to do some notes and further planning for this new idea I've had, but with all the actual writing I've got to do it may be going back to a basic idea.

Just gotta focus, right? Riiiiiight.  Somebody pass me a Ritalin.

Friday, October 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo Season is Afoot.

Feel the writin' burn.
Well, it's time.

National Novel Writing Month 2010 season is here!

Just to get things out of the way, if you would like to add me as a writing buddy, here is my profile!

This year is a bit different for me. Not only do I plan on working on a "new" novel this year, but I am also acting as Municipal Liaison of my home region, Oregon South Coast. It's gonna be a  busy couple of months, but you know, I'm unemployed and have the time to do it. 

Now here's the REAL announcement from my writing front.  I am too close to finishing the manuscript for CROSS//Rebirth for me to want to work on it this November. So my goal is to write 1700 words a day until I finish the first draft. And then for Nano? The next installment for the series, CROSS//Revenge is up. I already have most of what I needed outlined for it, so the real challenge is finishing up the first manuscript!

I have no idea how many pages are left, but I'm nearing the final confrontation and it should only be a few more chapters. Ugh, how good will that feel, anyway?

So is anybody else excited for nano this year?!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Coming soon to a writing blog near you.

Only one hour remains in September.

You know what that means?

Nano season begins tomorrow!

More exciting news from me when the site is back up. :Db

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Fun With Maps, Part 2: Lianrawl Wants Your Tanned and Uneducated, But Not Your Pity

I just realized something kinda looks like a penis.
 Back again for more map adventures! Sorry for the absence since last time...laptop blackout kinda killed any and all work ethic for a week or so there.

This time we look at the economy cesspool of Nagnomei. D'aw.


Geography: Lianrawl (lee-an-rawl), the sixth largest kingdom, is a predominately grassy plains region that supports general farming and ranching. The coast to the west is rather gentle and is dotted with numerous fishing towns. To the far east begins an arid desert region that leads into the border with Alanjepsta.

There are two main population zones in Lianrawl: the coastal area and the plains region. The plains are divided between the northern Sandnow Plain and the southern region around Lake Moriah. Lianrawl contains three branches of major highway, two that connect to other kingdoms (north-to-south in the valley and branching east to Alanjespta) and one that is contained completely within the kingdom. The capital city is a fishing port located on the coast, promoting the most prosperous region of the kingdom. Although farming and ranching is popular in the plains, it is not considered to be as profitable as fishing and the only reason for a large population concentration is because of the major highway trade route linking between two major powers Hæroa and Branier. Because of this the coast is considered a popular (and cheap) vacation spot for Hæroa's elite. The major waterway, the Crastine River, flows from Lake Cerulean in the Royal North to southern Lianrawl where it empties out into the ocean. Summers are hot and humid throughout the kingdom, and winters are cool but not usually freezing.
Lianrawl is bordered by three other kingdoms: Hæroa (and to an extent the Royal North) to the north, Alanjepsta to the east, and Branier to the south. Lianrawl is flanked by the Rennidrap Ocean to the west.

Citizenry: Rawlians, as the inhabitants are called, are often portrayed as loyal and pacifistic, the ideal "everyday men". Due to their proximity to the Royal North of Hæroa, however, they were often assaulted with the fallouts of war and have met many hardships over the centuries with recovering their economy and military time and again after constant Branieran raids and lack of assistance from their alliance with Hæroa. Since the long standing times of peace, however, Rawlians have managed to rebuild a considerable amount of their population and are seen as beacons of optimism when facing adversity.
Like all the other kingdoms, Lianrawl is an absolute monarchy, but still subservient to Hæroa’s reigning sovereign. Citizens pay two standard taxes: Homeland Tax (to the Rawlian government) and Royal Tax (to the Hæroan government). The King (or Queen) is responsible for collecting and distributing taxes, overseeing in-kingdom judicial matters, protecting religious matters, supervising Lord holdings, and acting as Head-of-State and official representing face to all other kingdoms. In times of war Lianrawl's monarch was also responsible for arranging tithes to Hæroa, procuring troops, and acting as the western buffer to Hæroa. Heirship is determined by the sovereign throughout the course of their reign, almost always by kinship.

Besides the monarchy, Lord holdings are somewhat common in Lianrawl. However, unlike in other kingdoms (aside from Alanjepsta where eco-industries are not available), Lords do not carry much power and often just run glorified ranches, farms, and ship fleets. Past wars wiped out many of the ancient Lords' bloodlines, and the current governments of Lianrawl and Hæroa are wary over the prospect of rewarding Rawlians with parcels of land and the Lord title, as there are few choices left and many of those are privately owned by other Rawlian citizens. The Lords that do exist are mostly located on the coast, although there are a handful located throughout the valley as well.

Towns, villages, and smaller cities are usually headed by an elected official or board, depending on need and size. Villages collected in common areas will usually form intercity committees for trading and politicking with the capital.

Until recent times, Rawlians themselves were considered uneducated and the plebian leftovers of Hæroa. This combines with the statistic that Lianrawl is the "poorest" kingdom in the continent and creates a stigma that most Rawlians are unable to shake when they travel to other kingdoms. However, Rawlians are viewed as examples of hard workers and people of paramount character to make up for what they lack in education and economics - "farmer tans" are considered fashionable. A very small university branch (the smallest on the continent) is located in the capital city, but is grossly underfunded and most academic prodigies are instead referred to the main campus in the Royal North.

Most of Lianrawl's cultural practices outside of religion are regarded as Hæroan copies...a common joke throughout the continent is that the only real differences between a Hæroan and a Rawlian are that Rawlians are darker and Hæroans can read. What Lianrawl lacks in long-standing art and critic culture, however, is made up by its elite base carpentry skills. Although not considered the best or most aesthetic in the continent, Rawlians are often praised for sturdy construction and carving.

Lianrawl has its own native language, Rawlian, but it is not studied or practiced outside of priesthood. The language itself is considered to be related to the native language of Branier, which is also not studied or practiced outside of the priesthood. Everyone in Lianrawl speaks the same language as the rest of the continent.

Religion: Lianrawl's respected god is Shiloh, the deity of the sun, day, and life, and the counterpart to Earth’s Judaism. His temple is located along the main highway in Sandnow Plain, just south of the western branch that reaches towards the coast. It is most notable for its gold trimming and accessibility to the public, whereas most other head temples are located in more remote regions. Both men and women are welcome to serve him as priests and priestesses, although there are vastly more of the former than the latter. His servants are allowed to marry, drink, and partake in other privileges that other gods may not allow. For this Shiloh is often regarded as a merciful, kind god that is open to assisting any and all people, not just Rawlians. Ironically, Shiloh is seen as the primary god of music and other artistic endeavors, which his people in turn are not known for. He is often depicted with a flute or a lyre in many paintings and statues of his likeness...he is often shown in usual "male" wear as well, with short hair and a pointed physique, when in reality he has long, flowing hair and a lean build. Although "available", he does not show himself to people that often, and instead prefers to walk amongst towns anonymously and under the guise of a Rawlian Priest, which prompts almost all households to always welcome a Priest of Shiloh into their homes.

Lianrawl's holiest day of the week is Shiday, two days before Gylday (Sunday). Most worshippers attend weekly services at local temples on these days, where they pray and sing for a majority of their time. Attendance is not mandatory, however, and one is not looked down on for skipping or never going at all; instead, worship is seen as an open time for socializing and, frankly, "partying". The only real restriction on Shiday is that Rawlians are not permitted to practice business with each other, as it is a day for "no tension".

Although many Rawlians do not realize themselves how many restrictions there are in their lives, most from other kigndoms find their dietary and other practices odd. Rawlians are forbidden from eating any pork products, and all other meats must be ritualistically cleansed after slaughter. It used to be forbidden to eat dairy products alongside meals with meat as well, until many famines forced the notion out of practice. In concordance with Lianrawl's fixation on farming in the valley region, a day of fasting and repentance is practiced on the eve of harvest, prompting citizens to be extra grateful for the food they cultivate from the earth and seas. Unlike other continental religions which allow the asking of forgiveness of mortal sins year-round, Rawlians only have this one day of the year to purify their souls. Many festivals are held in the spring and summer months that give extra praise and worship to the sun, but Lianrawl's most sanctified holiday occurs during the dead of winter before the new year and is considered a familiar affair. Each household in Lianrawl possesses a candelabra that they light every day for a week in penance to the absent sun, from Shiday to Shiday. It is customary to exchange new year's gifts at this time. Lianrawl's most infamous tradition is the circumcising of infant males after birth, a practice only found in that kingdom.

Shiloh's Messenger, and thus Lianrawl's official mascot, is Phoenix. Motifs and designs in the shape of a phoenix (and sun) are very popular throughout the kingdom. Phoenix's nest is up in the Fritayian mountains, although some travelers claim to see him roosting throughout the plains as well. Once a year on the first day of spring he molts, and his feathers are rare, high-valued items for the lucky few who find them. Phoenix's ritual of yearly rebirth plays as a symbol for the economically poor Rawlians to remain optimistic and always striving to better themselves.

Rawlians enjoy a pseudo-alliance with Nixey due to their deity, Alillia, being the twin of Shiloh. There is an unspoken vow in either kingdom to provide shelter and sanctuary to each other’s people if necessary while traveling, although Rawlians rarely travel to Nixey. Alillia is not given as much credence in Lianrawl as Shiloh is in Nixey due to her dark nature and emphasis on feminism to the exclusion of men.

A recent addition to religion in Lianrawl is the construction and inclusion of the Temple of Fate just south of Sandnow Plain and next to the highway that connects to Alanjepsta. Its placement was decided based on Fate's relations with both kingdoms deities: she is the lover of Shiloh and daughter of Alanjepsta's Kami. Fate does not have an associated kingdom, and thus Rawlians are not obligated to serve her in any way other than respecting her temple and its servants. Lianrawl is the only kingdom in all the continent to have a head temple for more than one deity.


Yeah we have fun.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

My Computer Kills More Characters Than I Do

It looked like this.
There's something to be said about irony.  I mean, besides the fact that it's my favorite thing ever and you would never guess I'm prone to being anemic.   But irony is only really cool when it happens to other people.  When it happens to you? Not so much.

Here's some irony for you:  on Labor Day I was futzing around, thinking about going to grab my flash drive to back up my latest writing files that had been sitting on my hard-drive for a couple weeks.  Well, before I could say "WHAT'S SOMETHING YOU SHOULD DO AFTER COMPLETING A DOCUMENT, EH?" Firefox crashed on me.  And it crashed hard.  It crashed so hard that it also took Windows Media Player out with it.  And Word.  And anything else I had opened at the time.

...And Windows.

I was forced to do a hard reset, as my laptop is prone to making me do every so often, and didn't think much of it besides a bit of an annoyance.  Well, Windows entered Startup Repair hell.  By the end of the night I was resigned to the fact I would probably have to reinstall Windows and brought out the alternate OS to salvage some files know, like those writing files I meant to backup. But for some HORRIBLE reason none of the other OSes could find my document folders! So I finally realized the inevitable...I would have to reinstall and lose just about everything.

I write to you now from my new installed windows.  Thankfully, a majority of my writing projects were backed up and even to date about a month ago.  So, all is not lost.  Just the latest chapter of The Key of Nixey and the last two (thankfully short!) chapters I wrote for CROSS//Rebirth.  I have about 20 pages in total to rewrite, which is utterly obnoxious, but not the all end of the world.  The trick is just to remember what I wrote!

So, learn from me, fellow document creators...aaaaalways baack up your stuff the moment they're created! I'll definitely be more vigilant in saving my extended files to other sources just so I don't have to repeat the rewriting bullpocky that I haven't had to do since 2000. Fudge.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

"Hello? Random person? I have a question for my novel...yes, I can hold?"

This covers everything!
From the wonderful people over at Not Always Right,

Me: “Thank you for calling [Gas Station]. How may I help you?”
Customer: “Do you shoot guns?”
Me: “Uh… what?”
Customer: “Well, I know your gas station hires some athletic young men and I was wondering if you knew anything about guns?”
Me: “Actually, I do know a decent amount about guns and shooting.”
Customer: “If you threw a gun in the air and shot it with another gun, would it explode?”
Me: “Wait, what? Why?”
Customer: “Oh, well in the book I’m writing the sheriff is fighting the robber on the balcony of the theatre, and the robber’s gun flies into the air and the sheriff shoots it. Would it explode or hurt anyone?”
Me: “Well, it probably wouldn’t explode, but it would probably discharge either when struck by the bullet or when it hits the ground.”
Customer: “Would it hit someone?”
Me: “You’re the author, ma’am.”
Customer:  “Oh, thank you very much!  I’ll send you a copy when it’s published!”

 What has this piece of idiocy taught me? If I have a question for my novel, I just have to call somebody to get an answer!

Now it all makes sense! Yesterday when I was researching tectonic plates, I should've just called any of my friends living in Japan because they get a lot of earthquakes!  When researching the effects of crack cocaine I should've called the cops because they see that shit all the time! And most of all, when researching the average male penis size yesterday I should've called the local Mason Lodge because there's a lot of dick there!

I can just imagine the conversation!

Him: Hello?
Me: Hi!
Him: Can I help you?

Me: What's the average male penis size?
Him:Excuse me?

Me: Oh, well, I know you're all male members there, so I thought maybe y'all compare in the showers and could tell me! What's your average?

Me: Well you see it's for my novel, so...
Him: I..I don't know Ma'am, however big you want it to be? You're the author!

Me: Oh, okay! So eight inches then? Thanks so much I'll send you a copy when it's done!
Him: Ma'am I don't think we'll be much interested in a novel talking about penis size.

Me: *click*
Thankfully I have all those minutes saved up on my phone! This is going to be great, everything is possible now!
And then I go to jail. Sigh.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Fun With Maps, Part 1: Nixey is for Pretty Girls (Boys Can Exit Out the Back)

Yeah, all other kingdoms are pasty white.
Unemployment makes one such as myself go to bitter extremes to feel productive, especially when under the scrutinizing eye of extended family.  This want for productivity has led me to create more extensive maps of my self-created fantasy world that is the namesake and setting of my series Nagnomei. While I have (slightly altered over the years) world maps of the overall continent, I realized I needed, for my sake at the very least, to make detailed maps of each individual kingdom.  And, in the process, I also created slightly encyclopedia-like fact sheets for the kingdoms.  For whatever reason I decided to start with Nixey, probably because it's part of the title of the first novel. 

The maps mark important things such as rivers, mountains, highway routes, major religious sites (such as official temples), capital cities, and major (appx. 500+ people) villages.  They're not drawn to any particular scale or topography - basically whatever helps me as the author keep track of what goes where. Naming conventions are a mixture of words related to the moon, Celtic origins, and some made up funzies.

The full sized version of the map (taken with a digital camera, sorry, no scanner) can be viewed here.



Geography:  Nixey (nix-ay), the fourth largest kingdom, enjoys a relatively even landscape, featuring fertile valleys for farmsteads and ranches that are supported by generous rivers and lakes.  The eastern coast is a bit jagged and uninhabitable due to its perilous cliffs, but the southern coasts are met at sea level and support thriving fishing communities.

Nixey can be divided up into three general zones:  the Crescent Peninsula, the Artunian Valley in the northeast, and the Full Moon Forest and Tsudine Mountain religious zones in the west.  The kingdom’s population can be divided evenly between the first two zones:  the capital city and main cultural city attract settlers to the valley, and attractive fishing and farming industries keep people settled in the peninsula area.  Major highways and general trade-routes connect both these regions to each other and the rest of Nagnomei. 

Nixey is bordered by three other kingdoms:  Hæroa to the north, Alanjepsta to the west, and Artino to the south.  Nixey is flanked by the Rennidrap Ocean to the east.

Citizenry: Nixians, as the inhabitants are called, enjoy a stable economy and exuberant peace, in-part to their pacifistic ways and long standing alliance with powerful Hæroa. However, like all other kingdoms, Nixey’s government trains and employs a fit army that protects its borders (particularly to the south) and patrols its coasts.   Nixey has the second highest amount of knightings per year in the continent, second only to Hæroa.

Like all the other kingdoms, Nixey is an absolute monarchy, but still subservient to Hæroa’s reigning sovereign.  Citizens pay two standard taxes: Homeland Tax (to the Nixian government) and Royal Tax (to the Hæroan government).  The King (or Queen) is responsible for collecting and distributing taxes, overseeing in-kingdom judicial matters, protecting religious matters, supervising Lord holdings, and acting as Head-of-State and official representing face to all other kingdoms.  In times of war Nixey’s monarch was also responsible for arranging tithes to Hæroa, procuring troops, and acting as the eastern buffer to Hæroa.  Heirship is determined by the sovereign throughout the course of their reign, almost always by kinship.  Nixey is the only kingdom to have had more sovereign Queens than Kings.

Besides the monarchy, Lord holdings are very common in Nixey, in part to its strong economy.  Multi-generation holdings dot the valleys, providing a majority of Nixey’s agricultural exports.  Nixey’s Lords and Ladies are among the richest in Nagnomei.

Towns, villages, and smaller cities are usually headed by an elected official or board, depending on need and size.  Villages collected in common areas will usually form intercity committees for trading and politicking with the capital.

Nixey is seen as a cultural and artistic oasis in the otherwise harsh eastern part of the continent.  Nixians pride themselves on their personal endeavors, and it is common presumption that almost all Nixians enjoy the finer things above all else.  Nixian artists are considered among the most revered in the world. Beauty is held in high regard - Nixey is the only kingdom to sponsor official contests and pageants.  Lavish lifestyles for hundreds of years have afforded much of the kingdom’s citizens - even the lower-class ones - a standard that is unmatched even in Hæroa.  However, this makes marriage matches outside of the kingdom difficult as many do not wish to deal with the “high maintenance” attitudes of the Nixians.  Nixians are the largest consumers of gemstones (particularly from Branier) on the continent.

Academia is also well respected in Nixey.  The kingdom’s university branch is considered second only to the main campus in the Royal North, making it a haven for those living in the east who wish to attend the main campus one day.  Like the main campus, the Nixey University focuses on politics, religion, history, language, and art.  Its math and science departments, however, are rather underfunded.

Religion: Nixey’s respected goddess is Alillia, the deity of the moon, night, and death, and the counterpart to Earth’s general Pagan religions.  Alillia’s head temple is located in the western portion on the outskirts of the Full Moon Forest - the forest is considered holy, Alillia’s recreational hunting grounds, and is prohibited to the general public on pain of the goddess’s own wrath.  Since Alillia is a virgin goddess, only women are allowed to serve her.  Nixey in turn has very high feminist attitudes, and its women enjoy one of the most liberated climates in the continent.  The further western regions, following the Artemis River into the Tsudine Mountains, is also considered holy - it is here that Alillia’s tribes gather and settle, practicing illegal sorcery and worshipping the goddess in turn.  Nixey’s related magic on the “Tapping Clock” is light and wind, and since this is the simplest form of sorcery, many Nixians have the innate ability to cast simple light and air spells.  (Although this is illegal outside of the Royal Family and Ashinya Tribesmen.) Remnants of the last of three major Ashinya tribes in all of Nagnomei exist in the ruins of Bomsana.

Nixey’s holiest day of the week is Aliday, three days before Gylday (Sunday).  Instead of attending services at community temples, however, worshippers are instead encouraged to make offerings from their own homes:  the most popular one is the ritualistic burning of a virgin girl’s lock of hair, accompanied with a prayer for purity. 

Alillia is known as the most proactive god of the pantheon - in wrath.  She is easily angered and quick to punish those who have broken her laws.  Because of this, religious participation is high throughout the kingdom, even amongst men.  Hunting is closely monitored so as to not tread on Alillia’s sacred grounds, and it is common practice amongst wandering men to enter all clearings blindfolded in case a woman may be bathing there...for aside from trespassing on holy ground, the other big slight to the goddess is to mistreat women.  Alillia’s highly conservative attitudes towards sex and gender interactions means her priestesses take an oath of virginity.  Assaulting a priestess of Alillia is a capital offense, dealt with by Alillia herself.

Alillia’s Messenger, and thus Nixey’s official mascot, is Dragon.  Motifs and designs in the shape of a dragon (and moon) are very popular throughout the kingdom.  Dragon resides when not in use by his master in a series of caves throughout the Tsudine Mountains, also contributing to their holy status.  He can sometimes be seen flying to and from the Royal Village, conversing with the monarchy and even picking up and dropping off those traveling between Nixey and the Royal North. The only other to command Dragon is Alillia’s Ashima - the monarch may only use him as liaison to the goddess.

One unique attribute in Nixey is clusters of stone circles found throughout the kingdom.  These were once used by the most primitive people to converse with Alillia when Dragon was not around.  These stone-henges are regarded as public holy grounds for both men and women, and are one of Nixey’s chief tourist attractions.

Nixians enjoy a pseudo-alliance with Lianrawl due to their deity, Shiloh, being the twin of Alillia.  There is an unspoken vow in either kingdom to provide shelter and sanctuary to each other’s people if necessary while traveling.  Also because of this, Nixey is the only kingdom to have a third “unnofficial” deity.  After Alillia and Gylara, Shiloh is looked highly upon as he also supports the arts and is considered beautiful, as is his sister.  He also acts as a male buffer for the men of the kingdom, who often feel shunned by their own kingdom’s goddess.  It is also said that blonde Nixians are a sign that that person is unable to Tap - although both Alillia and Shiloh are blonde, Alillia’s official related hair color is silver, and Nixians with silver or white hair (usually of Ashinya tribes) are regarded as candidates for master sorcery. Shiloh is the only male entity allowed to enter Alillia’s head temple, as he often does just to prove he can.

A common misconception about Nixey’s religious practices is that they secretly sacrifice virgins to Alillia.  Both the monarchy and Alillia herself condemn such acts as religious treason.


That was so much fun and productive. UNTIL NEXT TIME (aka when I finish the next map).

Monday, August 30, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #30

30. Final ques­tion! Tag some­one! And tell us what you like about that per­son as a writer and/or about one of his/her characters!

I'll do the actual tagging in the livejournal version of this blog.  Here I'd just like to say...I am so glad this meme is over. It got really grating and repetitive...and holy crap am I glad to get back to REGULAR SCHEDULED PROGRAMMING.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #29

29. How often do you think about writ­ing? Ever come across some­thing IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

I live and breathe writing, pretty much.  That said, EVERYTHING REMINDS ME OF IT, it's annoying.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #28

28. Have you ever writ­ten a char­ac­ter with phys­i­cal or men­tal dis­abil­i­ties? 

No, simply because my characters are usually charged with saving the world, and they have to be petty fit and able. Of course a handicapped world-saver would be interesting, but it's not something I feel would "work" in either universe (since they tackle other issues) and not something I feel up to doing the necessary research for.

The biggest "disabilities" my characters have is maybe bad eyesight or the occasional disease. Big whoop, right?

Friday, August 27, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #27

27. Along sim­i­lar lines, do appear­ances play a big role in your sto­ries? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about design­ing your char­ac­ters.

I really don't have a set way of "designing" my characters.  They just kinda manifest themselves in the split second they're created. Sometimes I have a "stock" in my head of a type of character I want to to have, and if the opportunity is presented I put them in.  And some characters are redone from previous characters of other stories from when I was a child.  I've noticed though that I really love non-brown eyes and blonde hair...even on non-fair skinned characters, haha. (What can I say, I love "color" outside brown and black.)

It's pretty safe to say though that I make main characters that are attractive to me, simply because I want my creations to be aesthetically pleasing to me.  That said, what I find attractive obviously doesn't match everyone else's, so I really don't give a crap about such related Mary-Sue allegations, ha.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #26

26. Let’s talk art! Do you draw your char­ac­ters? Do oth­ers draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite pic­ture of him!


This meme seriously sucks.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #25

25. Do any of your char­ac­ters have pets? Tell us about them.

Pets are like ghosts in my novels.  They're supposed to be there, until I forget to PUT THEM THERE. Because, usually, they have nothing to do with the plot,and just kinda sit pretty in the background for characters to pet.

For instance, there is supposed to be a black cat named Sadie somewhere in CROSS//, but anyone who has read anything from it will notice that THERE IS NO CAT. D: I kept forgetting. And then just gave up.

The cat was a lie. I suck.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #24

24. How will­ing are you to kill your char­ac­ters if the plot so demands it? What’s the most inter­est­ing way you’ve killed some­one?

Heck yeah I'll kill characters if the plot demands it.  Sometimes, it happens yo.  Technically I've been killing some of the same characters over and over and ooooveeer again! (Violently, indeed.)  There is one primary death slated to happen in series for one of my novels.  Can't say much though, obviously.  All I know is that I'll pull a JK Rowling when it happens, and I'll come wandering out of my office crying because omg I love that character so much WHY DID THEY HAVE TO DIE?!

That said...most interesting death?  Death by dragon. That's how I want to go.

Wait, is that more badass, or getting a mercy kill from your lover? You tell me.

Monday, August 23, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #23

23. How long does it usu­ally take you to com­plete an entire story—from plan­ning to writ­ing to post­ing (if you post your work)?

Oh goodness, I'm still working on most of them.  When I was younger and wrote shorter, more succinct novels, it only took me about five months of working for about 1-2 hours after school every day to finish a novel.   The first draft of Nixey probably took about three years of work to complete.  Its successor took only two.  Thus far the final draft of Nixey is on its fourth or fifth year.  Life happens.

Meanwhile CROSS// is probably my longest set yet, and the first novel is taking three years this November.  Odds are I'll finish it by the end of this year.  Sweet.

I would love to finish everything sooner, but you know, as I said before, life happens because it's a snotty little bitch.  I just finished college, which took up a huge amount of my time.  Now I am trying to work full time.  Why do I do this to myself...

Sunday, August 22, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #22

22. Tell us about one scene between your char­ac­ters that you’ve never writ­ten or told any­one about before! Seri­ous or not.

I can't do that...that would be a spoiler...and I would have to kill you.


Saturday, August 21, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #21

21. Do any of your char­ac­ters have chil­dren? How well do you write them?

Not usually, most of my characters are not interested in having children, much like myself.  Obviously in multi-generation series like Nagnomei, characters breed, but I pretty much skip over their childhoods and go straight to teenage and up.  And if characters raise children, they're usually adopted because of some circumstance or another.

I could write them just fine, but quite frankly I don't want to.  I'm not interested in writing for children or about children - with all the sex in my novels, that's just fine, yo!

Friday, August 20, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #20

(thank goodness, 2/3 done)

20. What are your favorite char­ac­ter inter­ac­tions to write?

The easiest way to answer this would be by giving specific examples, but for once I think I'll be a little more ~generic~.  My favorite type of character interactions to write are usually between two characters:  one character likes the other but the "like" is not reciprocated.  It amuses me because it lets me work with wto different emotions at once on a constant basis. I like to keep things interesting for myself, after all.

The only other kind of interaction I look forward to writing are torture and sex. yeah. YEAH.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

30 Days of Wriing: #19

Get it?  GET IT?
19. Favorite minor that decided to shove her/him­self into the spot­light and why!

Fixed the sexism okay and thank you. /bitter today.

I don't have an answer for this question in terms of Nagnomei, because I write that one with the idea that every character I introduce is a "potential", as in it's possible they could be used again later in a more prominent role if necessary.  However, I don't take the same idea in CROSS// because one is a huge epic fantasy with a contienent full of players and the other is a smaller urban fantasy with only a few prominent characters.  But like any long-term story that I start on, within a few chapters I've got characters that I realize are going to keep popping up whether relevant or not. 

People who read CROSS// the first time through would probably be surprised to learn that, originally, Miranda was supposed to be a minor character.  The idea was that she was gonig to be the lewd and lecherous commander that kinda flirted, showed leg, and unapologetically slinked around the background for my own amusement (and to annoy the crap out of Danielle).  The running joke was going to be that she was always trying to get some with Danielle, the blonde didn't want none of that, hardy har hurr hurr even lesbians sexually harrass each other.   But within the first few chapters of the first book, Miranda went from minor character to antagonist with a huge background. Oops! And now she's one of three main characters. Oops again!

Lesson:  never underestimate your minor characters! They'll come for you. =(

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #18

18. Favorite antag­o­nist and why!

Woo I'm psychic! After yesterday's "favorite protagonist", this was only kinda painfully obvious.  Just kinda.

I'm pretty sure I've already gone on about how much Yumiko amuses me, so I will try to come up with someone else...

...nope, all my other antagonists either just aren't as cool or are too protagonisty. Here's a great idea, Mr. Meme, come up with some less repetitive questions. Jeez.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #17

17. Favorite pro­tag­o­nist and why!

Sooooo how  is this not like the "favorite character!" question?

Meh, I have so many protagonists, it's hard to pick a favorite.  Especially since some of my faves cross over into antagonist category more than once - actually, if I think about it, most of my characters cross between "good" and "evil" so much that sometimes it feels weird to call them protagonist or antagonist.  The bad guys are doing their bad things in the name of good, and the good guys do some bad things to save their worlds.  IT'S LIKE A CIRCLE.

But I guess if I spin it in terms of ~best character that does protagonisty things~ I'll give props to my man Jack, because he was my first (as if) and, even though he's in a total crap situation throughout his entire series, he doesn't whine too much and just kinda takes it like a man.  He's lawful good without the armor, because guys who go out with just a sword in their hand are a-ok with me. And he's a red-head, I mean come on.

I have a horrible feeling I know what tomorrow's is going to be...

Monday, August 16, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #16

16. Do you write roman­tic rela­tion­ships? How do you do with those, and how “far” are you will­ing to go in your writ­ing? ;)

Whatevz, romance is one of the most interesting things to write about - adds character development and advances plot. 

And anyone who's read anything I've written? They go all the way. In great detail. Usually with mental commentary!

And that's all I'm saying about that.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #15

This is not an accurate rendering...
15. Mid­way ques­tion! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether pro­fes­sional or not!

Oh God, I don't even know.  Just to say I admire a writer does not necessarily mean I LIKE them or even READ them, right?  Well, believe it or not, there are definitely more writers I admire than necessarily like.  Writers, of course, like the classics in Greek and Rome, whoever the lucky snot who wrote Beowulf was (and I curse him), Lady Murasaki for being both an educated woman in medieval Japan AND wriiting the oldest (or one of)  novels in Japan, or even the world (may I reiterate that she was a woman?)  and virtually anyone else who is way more awesome than I will ever be. If it weren't for writers to idolize, there would be nothing to aspire to.

As for more...recent...writers I admire, that's a harder one.  I admire writers who broke into markets and made something for themselves. But I doubt this is about the business aspect of admiration.  So, in terms of writing style, content, and general badassery, one of the first 1900s+ authors that come to mind for me is Philip Pullman, author of His Dark Materials.  It's one of the few (fantasy) series from my childhood that I still thoroughly enjoy and look to for inspiration, probably because it's fantasy with religious know, like Nagnomei...which explains why I was attracted to it in the first place.  Pullman is able to make twists and turns that make me jealous.  He's succinct (something I need to work on) and yet gets all the (fantastical) information across.  He's also really pissing some organizations off that I would love to piss off as well.  The only thing I'm not jealous of is the movie...

Tell me, fanciful readers, who do you admire? And most importantly...are they dead?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #14

14. How do you map out loca­tions, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

(is it just me or are these questions getting stale)

I've mapped out, officially, the landscapes of Nagnomei and, more succinctly, that of its capital region the Royal North.  There isn't anything dramatically awesome about these maps.  They were mostly just done by my hand for my  own political reference - hopefully, if the are published, they will have been redone by somebody more "in the know" of such things.

I also map out certain buildings.  I bought a graphing notebook from my student store and sat down to trace out exactly the scales and arrangements of character houses/apartments/etc. that I want, since lots of scenes take place in such areas.  It's really helped me out, especially since some places were not exactly clear in their layout in my head and this helped force me to write out exactly how they should be - I always enjoyed doing that kind of thing anyway, haha.

You can see the maps for Nagnomei in its official download page.  I'm way too lazy to upload them here again. =P

Friday, August 13, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #13

13. What’s your favorite cul­ture to write, fic­tional or not?

That's kind of an odd question.  And it may seem like an easy one for me to answer, but it really isn't.  I do a lot of writing based on Japanese culture (or even parts of stories set in Japan) but I wouldn't necessarily say it's my favorite.  I guess I don't really have one.  Although I would be lying if I didn't find my fictional Fairy-Amazonian culture quite fascinating to preach about.

I failed at this question.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #12

I can't draw maps like this.  At all.
12. In what story did you feel you did the best job of world­build­ing? Any side-notes on it you’d like to share?

I'm pretty sure this has already kinda been asked before...and my answer is more or less the same. Nagnomei is by far my favorite world, probably because I built it from "scratch". including geography, culture, and religion. I've managed to work out almost all the kinks by now, and that's a huge thing for me.

Probably the way it's changed the most since I first imagined it is the size - the continent used to take up both northern and southern hemispheres of the planet. As I got older I realized how dumb this was and scaled it back so it's now a northern continent only. The far north is the southern arctic area, and instead of a "south pole" the southern most parts are just coastal (although ironically not tropical). I also had to do this because parts of the series includes traveling the entire continent on horseback, and this needs to be done within at least 3-months-time. This also forced me to perfect the inter-kingdom highway system - gotta make sure all those major villages are easily accessible, right? Right.

The best part about working with a whole continent that includes almost every major geographic feature - plains, desert, jungle, mountains, foggy coast, valleys - is that I can just keep expanding parts of it as I need/want. And for someone who has an imagination as cray-cray as mine, that's a plus beyond measure.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #11

omg. GET IT?
11. Who is your favorite char­ac­ter to write? Least favorite?

It was inevitable that this question should arise eventually, so I was pretty prepared for it. Being asked who your favorite character is is like the previous entry I wrote about being asked which novel is your favorite - after a while you start thinking of your original characters as "children", and being asked to pick a favorite feels like parental heresy. But since this question is more about asking which is my favorite to WRITE (or not write) it doesn't feel so bad, because there are pretty simple reasons for this.

All but one of my favorite characters to write is female. (Why is this not a surprise?) And to just get him out of the way right now, my favorite male character to write is good ol' Zachoran. I can't say no to writing about an academic in power with tons of money and a perchance for general debauchery. He's also my male outlet for fun times with romance. (I've gotta have at least one.)

For the sake of simplicity, I will for now only mention one favorite female character to write, who just happens to be in my other series. Before her "creation", I could've easily picked another character, but the fact of the matter is that Yumiko is one of my most fascinating characters to write - if only because I almost never know what she's going to do. Like how she just SHOWED UP one day in a scene and was suddenly a main character. Thee problem with her though is that she tends to do very immoral things, which, at times, can upset me. So in this instance, I suppose she's also my least favorite.

All right, I lied. There's actually one last character I want to talk about, and, quite possibly, she IS my favorite character to write at all. My only regret is that she does not show up in her series until about three books in, so all of my real experience in writing her comes from side projects. But Charletta just kinda fascinates me: she's from a completely different culture, with different values, and just isn't bothered by much of anything. It's kinda become a game of mine to see if I can piss her off somehow. Clearly I need to write her more.

There are other characters in the past that pissed me off to write, but after so many years I've grown accustomed to most of them and have learned their traits and morals to the point that conducting any scene with any character more or less goes smoothly - character development rarely holds me up. In fact, if anything blocks me, it's sentence structures, but that's a totally different topic for another day. Oye.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #10

10. What are some really weird sit­u­a­tions your char­ac­ters have been in? Every­thing from seri­ous canon scenes to meme ques­tions counts!

Oh my God, I think I am in love with this question.

Ironically though I'm sitting here trying to think up an appropriate answer.

But when you just kinda let your scenes go wherever they want (like I do), then your characters end up in some serious whacky hijinks that make Hanna Barbara look tame.  One of my favorite things to do is mess around with gender norms.  In one series I have a male character that at some point has to go undercover as a female to get information out of another woman.  In another series a male character gets physically transformed into a female for about half the book.  Should be noted that one of these men handles their role a lot better than the other...which is part of the fun in itself.

Otherwise the "weird" situations are mostly small in nature, or at least in the scopes of the plots.  Of course I could argue that, since I write fantasy, nearly every major situation a character is put into is a "weird" one:  case in point, being told that you're a reincarnated soldier sent to stop the Earth from being destroyed - and you've died 99 times before. Or finding out that you have to go pick up a piece of paper, but only after passing seven ridiculous trials first - and even though you've got some immortals with you, everyone is still a pussy and won't go in first. The definition of "weird" has to be pretty wide in my stories' cases.

But then if you made it too wide, I suppose, suddenly my stories get very boring. Hm.

Monday, August 9, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #9

9. How do you get ideas for your char­ac­ters? Describe the process of cre­at­ing them.

 Is this a legit question? I guess there are writers who literally sit down to draw out every detail of ever character, but for me I just bust them out.  When I know a new character is coming in, I don't think about them, I just let them come in and do their thing.  Sometimes the appearance is inspired by a real life person or rendering I see, and sometimes I freely admit I make a character that I just find attractive. (These are usually minor, fluff characters though.)  The only characters I may sit and plan out extensively ahead of time are antagonists, as I usually need them to be a very specific type of entity - plus, let's face it, antagonists are a lot harder to make original and not so cliche.

As for their personalities, I literally discover things about characters as I write them.  I found out that one of my characters apparently really loves black because it's most of her wardrobe (and no, she's not emo or goth, it's just how it worked out/it looks best on her), another character hates cherries, and of course, another character wasn't supposed to exist at all, but she showed up in a scene one day and basically told me, "Biyatch, I'm one of your main antagonists now.  Have fun."

So there is no "process" to writing my characters.  They just kinda exist and I work from there.  That's how it goes, yo.  I'm sorry it's not more fascinating than that...

Sunday, August 8, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #8

8. What’s your favorite genre to write? To read?

I think it's pretty safe to say that I need a huge heaping help of fantasy in any story I write.  This goes hand in hand with my favorite genre to read, which is obviously fantasy. My problem though is that I am so fickle when it comes to reading fantasy - it's easy for me to get disenchanted or even more critical of stories in the fantasy realm than I would in any other classic genre.  Such crazyness can probably be attributed to the fact that I've read so much epic/high/adventure/urban fantasy in my youth that I've hit burnout these days, and thus, only the super awesome fantasy stories can actually get by my eyes.

I was always the kind of little girl that enjoyed the ideas of going to a different place than where I lived, partly because I lived in rural Oregon and it was boring as snuff, and partly because I loved anything that activated my crazy-ass imagination..  Fantasy required an openness to things that simply did not exist in the world, like magic, mythos, and general other-worldly debauchery.  It was also incredibly romantic which fit my equally incredibly romantic personality, even at tender elementary school ages. Books are not the only fantasy realms I enjoy - no big secret that I love fantasy video games and movies as well.

There's something about playing around with fantasy, whether it's entirely creating your own world or working within the boundaries of our own.  Both of my series parlay one or the other, and this is another reason why I go back and forth on working on them - sometimes I want to work with familiarity, and other times I just want total free reign to say what the rules are and who's in charge. 

Of course fantasy is not the only thing I write (or read).  Sometimes, especially for short works, plain fiction is best.  I also am a huge fan of writing romance as well, but that's one of the easy genres that mixes with just about all the others. 

So on that note, even though this is a meme anyone can pick up, I want to ask the readers out there how they see themselves in this:  do you often write the same genres that you read?  If so, does that make you an even pickier reader of those genres?  I want to know how cray-cray I am.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #7

I think this may be physically impossible.
7. Do you lis­ten to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your char­ac­ters?

If writing is my favorite thing in the world (debatable anyway), then music is the "other thing".  Ironically, used to be that I couldn't write to any sort of noise in the background, music included.  Slowly I worked my way up to ~new age~ white noise/elevator music, and now I can slam out a love scene set to Dethklok if that's what it's all come down to. (I wonder how I would write such a scene...perhaps I will try one day?)

I do keep my background music pretty separated when I am writing, however.  If I'm working on Nagnomei, odds are I'm listening to Euro-metal.  If I am working on CROSS//, I am probably listening to anything that's not Euro-metal.  Atmospheres and moods and all that snazzy stuff.

Theme wise, I have picked out songs that I could see being the themes for each book I've written, and I do put together make-shift soundtrack for them.  The really odd thing here, though, is that I rarely listen to them while I'm writing.  It's more like what songs I imagine being ina movie/series adaptation of each novel.  There are certain songs that have inspired certain scenes that I will put onto repeat while I am writing them, but otherwise, I'm not quite that limited.  In instances of writing, music is only background white noise for me to be amused with. 

For fun, here are the songs I consider to be the themes for the two drafts I am working on now:

Nagnomei:  The Key of Nixey


Friday, August 6, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #6

If only my workspace was this clean.
6. Where are you most com­fort­able writ­ing? At what time of day? Com­puter or good ol’ pen and paper?

First question is quite easy.  I can write anywhere.  Growing up riding the school bus for two hours every day has trained me to tune out outside distractions, even if it's as simple as turning on my ipod.   But the most common place I write is spliced between any of my desks and lying in bed.  Writing in bed for about a half hour to an hour is how I unwind and get ready for sleepy-times.  It usually also causes me to have really whacky dreams.

Mentally I can concentrate better at writing in the late afternoon/evening, but my creative peak is at the midnight hour or later.  There's something about the quiet darkness that just opens my imagination and lets me get right to work.  It's probably why I like to write before going to sleep.

And the last part of this question is also incredibly easy.  Computer! I can't write long hand anymore.  I type at 120wpm and get hand cramps after writing out two sentences.  I type as fast as I can formulate the words in my head and that helps me get crap done.  I grew up typing on computers, so that's how my brain has associated the writing process for me.  My stories just look weird in my handwriting - it has to be neutral Times New Roman.

I do, however, write out notes in special notebooks I keep in my office space.  This is mostly so I can do this stuff outside.  And I don't do it very often.  I actually kinda fail at it.  Damnit!

Well, it's nearing the midnight hour, that must mean it's time to go work on a novel. Yaaay!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #5

I found old people!
5. By age, who is your youngest char­ac­ter? Old­est? How about “youngest” and “old­est” in terms of when you cre­ated them?

This is so beyond arbitrary.  I've got characters across every age range...of course, the majority of them, including major characters, fall into the teenager/adult trap, but I have my reasons for preferring those age groups.

For the sake of this, however, I'll keep the answers limited to major and higher-minor characters.

The oldest character is obviously one of the Gods in Nagnomei. They're each over 4000 years old, which right there makes them older than any of the sorcerers from CROSS// who cap out at around 2000 years.  (And that's the ~older~ ones.)  For non-immortal characters, the oldest semi-prominent character is probably Regina from CROSS//, who, according to my notes, is 66 at the start of the series.  I enjoy writing older people, or at least people who have lived for a long-ass time, because they have that certain cynical edge to life that I relate to. A lot.

The youngest character, who is not a cameo as a child, would be Jessie at her debut in Nagnomei (15), or, if you want a supporting character, Kana (14) mid-way through the series.  The important thing to keep track in this series  is that, although many of the main characters are in their mid-late teens, they are almost adults in their society and are treated as such.  (Seventeen is the legal adult age.)  This can account for why some of them may act more like 20-year-olds as opposed to 15-year-olds.  It is not uncommon in the kingdoms for children to be treated as young adults the moment they reach puberty, as mortality rates dictate that efficient families need more adults than children.  This is not that much different than from how our own Western societies treated teenagers not even a hundred years ago.  I actually enjoy writing characters in this world at this age because it's interesting to play with the notion of being an adult while still trying to hang on to the comforts of childhood...

...Says the 22-year-old.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #4

4. Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!

I wrote my first "novel" when I was six years old. Yes, this insanity goes back that far.

This is back when I literally cut pieces of paper in half and handwrote on them so I could make them into a legit "book".  I would then either staple the pages together or, later on, holepunch them (NOT. FUN. EVER. First draft of Nagnomei is whole punched. ALL 400 PAGES.)  and put the little page binder things in them.  Thus, my first "novel" was like this.  And yes, I really was six years old.  I'll tell you of why I am certain about this later on.

My ~debut novel~ was a story about my grandmother.  I know, right?  But this was about when my grandmother was a teenager!!! I think I just wanted a reason to make the main character's name be Hildred, meh.  And  in this story, my grandmother had a friend...that was a PEGASUS omg.

I don't really remember the plot, but it had to do with my grandmother being visited in the night by a pegasus that informed her they had to go on an ~adventure~.  I think I only got a couple chapters in before I forgot about it all.  The biggest atroticity, however, is that this book was illustrated.  I really wish I could find it just so I could show you all the horrible, horrible kindergarten drawings of my grandmother riding a pegasus.

I vaguely remember that the reason why I started writing this story was to cheer my grandmother up after the death of my grandfather.  He died when I was five. I officially learned how to read in kindergarten (age 6).  My grandmother got very sick herself when I was around 7 and died when I was 8-9.  Since she was still mobile and able to respond to what I was doing, I am pretty confident this all occurred when I was 6 or so.  An author.  I've been one for 16 years. My dear Jeebus.

It's destiny!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #3

I'm always tempted to write "Tumadre"
3. How do you come up with names for char­ac­ters (and for places if you’re writ­ing about fic­tional places)?

(Hey, can I toot my own horn for a moment? Really? Thanks.)  If there's one thing I'm apparently good at, it's naming crap.  This makes me day considering I write high fantasy fiction and the cliche is that you have to give your people and places the most ridiculous names possible.  I don't know how many adventures about Q'saratyipi Hyk'ghola-fernz going gallivanting across the land of Unpronounceable I've read about, but there you go. 

For the high fantasy setting, I follow a simple rule when I'm making up names for characters not based off a real name:  two syllables, three at the most.  In Nagnomei, most of the names were made up when I was in my early teens, so they were truly, truly of my brain's creation.  (This was mostly before my family had the internet, anyway.)  That's why later I was surprised to find out that Roku's name was actually the number 6 in Japanese, or that Charletta is a totally legit name used in our society. (I've met one. Actually, two.)   The first was to be expected, I suppose, but the second blew my mind because I actually fashioned that name from the common name "Charlotte", thinking that "Charlotte" would not be a realistic name for my world.  And, well, she needed a name that ended in "A", anyway.

With the vowel thing  I did kind of pigeon-hole myself.  In my world's social hierarchy, only women whose names end in "a" and men whose names end in "n" can be considered for high society, let alone royalty.  Therefore, I had to keep my own rules in mind whenever I wanted to name a King, Queen, Princess, Prince, Lord, Lady, Duke, probably most knights, etc.  This also leads to a sort of "name cult" in Nagnomei surrounding what parents choose to name their children:  those trying to climb the social ladder will name their children accordingly to make sure that said children are good potential marriage material.  Families of very low status don't worry too much about this and call their children whatever the want.  Likewise, it's considered odd to name one's child with the "wrong" ending letter, such as "n" for girls and "a" for boys.  And indeed, there are quite a few women in Nagnomei that pop up with such "masculine" names, Malivion (both incarnations) and Makilon probably being the most prominent.   What's more fun is that the naming systems become quite the drama-mongrels later on in the series, because names should cause drama.

There are a few other funny stories about names, particularly in Nagnomei. As mentioned in the previous entry, the gods are largely based off seven of the most practiced religions here in our world, and, aside from "Shiloh" and "Kami", the other gods' names are quite accidents!  They were named (and once I pick a name that I think fits a character, I am very stubborn against changing it) before I had the entire religious system worked out.  Probably the most interesting "accident" is that of Monir, the god that is based heavily on Islam.  The other night I was wasting  time googling my characters' names to see what I got, and, as it turns out, "Monir" is a popular Persian name.  I was pleasantly surprised at this, but the best surprise was yet to come - Monir is a girl's name!  I found this really entertaining as Monir, the character, is quite forward about his masculinity and even I wonder if he knows the origins of his name...he probably keeps it secret.

As for places, my general rule is to keep them pronounceable and relevant.  Regardless of people or places, I go about naming in the same general fashion.  Usually I pick a letter to begin with that I feel represents the person best, ie, I say "I think this character would have an 'A' name" and building from there.  After that I usually decide on number of syllables and maybe what letter it should end with (easy if it's a noble character).  It usually doesn't take me long, but I have been stuck on a name more than once in my life. 

And that's just for names I make up.  I will not even touch characters with "real" names, like a majority of those in CROSS// at this time, ha.

Monday, August 2, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #2

2. How many char­ac­ters do you have? Do you pre­fer males or females?
 Well, gee, I really couldn't say.  Between two vast series, it is safe to say that I have at least a couple dozen prominent characters.  And by "prominent" I mean have extensive roles and backgrounds.  When you write as lengthy as series that encompass entire universes like I do, you're going to have a crapton of characters.  One series currently has about 8 characters to primarily focus on, and the other has about 5.  This all fluctuates from book to book, of  course!

I have a pretty even split on male vs. female characters, but I definitely prefer writing the ladies.  This can be seen from the two most obvious reasons, ie. that I am female and feel more comfortable with it, and that well hell love women.  But even when I was younger I liked writing female characters, because they were easier for me to relate to and I felt more confident in my portrayals of them.  Plus, I find women just more fascinating to write and read about.  You can cross a lot of boundaries with female characters.  There's also the fact that you can usually just go to town on their appearances. See:  Sims 3.

I've gotten better at adding more variety to male characters in the past few years, however.  It probably helps that most of my friends in real life tend to  be guys, so I've had quite the ride analyzing the male psyche from my perspective.  Not to say I know everything about men, but I've been told, and am kinda starting to believe it myself, that I tend to think in and view the world in a "masculine" way.  So, my characters end up being an extension of that themselves, whether they are male or female.

Yay day 2! 28 to go!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

30 Days of Writing: #1

These things cure writer's block. Trufax.
This meme is going around again, and I thought it would be cool to add to my writing journal! :D Yay. Beginning with today, the first, and going on through Aug 31st. (I'll make my own at the end.)

1. Tell us about your favorite writ­ing project/universe that you’ve worked with and why.

Oh yeah, sure, the hardest one right off the bat.

I only have two main projects/universes, those of Nangomei and CROSS//, and as I've stated before in another post before, I'm obsessed with both fairly equally.  However, my initial world building bias is definitely handed towards Nagnomei, because that is one I have built from scratch since its inception when I was barely in middle school.

Nagnomei takes place on the continent/planet of Nagnomei, whereas CROSS// takes place in a slightly parallel Earth.  (Parallel only so I can get away with a couple things that differ from Earth's actual reality.)  While there are other worlds I've created, sketched, and even molded other races out of for CROSS//, it still follows a very Western Earth kind of motif as it's suggested these other worlds were what founded our Earth culture(s).  However, the culture(s) of Nagnomei has had 4000 years of evolution at its back and calls for modification.  It's not a secret that I draw heavily from current Earth cultures for many of the kingdoms:  Alanjepsta is heavily inspired by Japan-in-the-Desert and the Royal North is a throwback to medieval, Catholic Europe. There is a reason for these huge parallels, but I'm not at liberty to discuss them right now, hehe.

Probably the greatest part about building that particular world, however, is constructing the religion.  I've always been a huge nerd for studying religions, (I even minored in it in college), and I definitely went to town for Nagnomei's collective religion.  Each major God/Goddess represents a major Earth religion with some liberal differences allotted.  I originally worried that readers may take this as meaning that Gylara, the Queen Goddess of all and the one that obviously represents Christianity/Catholicism, was the "correct" religion since she's ultimately in charge.  However, I later stopped worrying about it, as I know that that is not my intent, and ,well, readers will read into something whatever they want.  They can argue with me all they want, but, um, no, I'm right, thank you! :D

And thus I conclude day one of the this 30-day meme.  If I keep rambling, I will inevitably answer the other questions before I even get to them, and nobody wants to see me repeat myself wants to see me repeat myself.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

Shakespeare or Stephen, Either One Will Make Me Bank

This actually happens, kids.
Just this in, everybody.  No longer do you have to rely on your friends, your fans (if you are so blessed as to have them) or even your middle school language arts teacher to inform you what kind of famous author you write like.  Thanks to extreme advances in technology since the Kindle, computers are now more than willing to tell you who you write like!

If you are a writer (or even the average blogger) and have been living beneath a rock, then you probably missed out on one of the latest memes to his the internet.  "I Write Like" is a web-based program that analyzes  inputted paragraphs and spits out white bread authors that it thinks you write like.  Of course, being an author, I totally had to do this.

For control purposes, I'm going to completely redo these and ignore any answers I may have from before.  That said, let's see who I write like.

First up is an excerpt from Nagnomei:  The Key of Nixey.

“This is beyond inhuman.” The usually haughty and well-groomed moon goddess now roamed the empty streets with her companions, her hair disheveled and robes tarnished by soot. “This is Serafin.”
          Three other wayward figures bumbled their way through debris behind her. Gylara climbed over a piece of fallen house before asking, “Are you sure?”
          Alillia lowered her hand after another flush of smoke flew by. “Of course I am. He did the same thing to one of my villages five years ago. It ended up looking exactly like this.”
          The others recombined in the middle of the dusty highway, their spirits shaking as their immortal bodies breathed in murky, sulfuric air and trudged through broken boards, cracked glass, and a trail of carnage that made war look like a viable excuse. Shiloh stepped away from the corpse of a white, bloody chicken before the heel of his boot could accidentally stomp on it. 
          “We should clean this mess up before some mortal finds it,” Gylara then mumbled. “Give me a few minutes and I’ll have the bodies gone.”
          “Do you think you should get rid of all of them?” Fate bemused, strolling past the crumbled marketplace and the severed hand that lied outside its old doorstep. She was the only one who seemed detached from the atrocity that befell the nameless Rawlian village – her visions of its occurrence from the past few nights made her feel like she was walking through a predisposed nightmare for the hundredth time.
          “Why wouldn’t we? Do you want somebody discovering this?”
          Fate shrugged her thin shoulders and turned away from her three companions. “He’ll be back soon.”
WHRRRRR goes the internetz, and now for my result! Survey says:

I write like
Mario Puzo
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Naturally I have no idea who the heck Mario Puzo is.  Wikipedia informs me, however, that he wrote the likes of The Godfather and the Superman screenplays.  Well, dang.  That's kinda cool.  He also wrote a lot of mafia related stories.  Oh. Oh okay.  That's totally like high fantasy with Gods and swords, right?

Moving on to exhibit two, an excerpt from CROSS//Rebirth

Danielle sighed and approached the door to the office. She knocked once, expecting the familiar grunt alerting her to enter. But she never heard it, nor did she hear much of anything. Not being one to just intrude on her commanding officer’s abode, Danielle waited another minute before knocking again. This time she thought she heard some sort of affirmation coming from the other side, so she grabbed the handle and swung the door open as if she were bestowed with every god-given right to do so.
            Behind said door was an image that would forever be burned into Danielle’s poor and badly scathed mind:  prostrate on the desk was her esteemed captain, her brown uniform horribly tussled from repeated pawing and cheeks redder than a freshly picked cherry. Between her legs stood the major, kneeling over the edge of the desk with her short, dark hair concealing her eyes but not hiding the acute smirk on her face. Under any other circumstance Danielle would have bailed from the room, leaving the captain to her usual lesbian debauchery in her own office, but she was so frozen solid that Danielle was not sure if she could pry her eyes away. Once she analyzed the state they were in and the fact that both women were high-ranking officials in her country’s government, Danielle wanted to scream at them, “God damnit, you whores, this is not a pornocracy!”
Wait for it....

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Oh, hey, somebody else I've never heard of!  Google magic says his most popular book is called Infinite Jest, and further investigation leads me to believe that this is a novel I should read sometime in the future. I'll take it.

Of course the next natural question to ask is, "So, what is this program doing to make it say I write like Wallace??"  Having traipsed the like of programming and internet crap over the past few, formidable years of my life, I'm lead to believe that it's a simple algorithm based on sentence structures, word choice, and punctuation.  To see if I was right, I actually looked up how it looks, and hey, the creator talks about it right on the site!  To save you even more scrolling, I will merely point you to a link to the page:

Aw, I was more or less right!  This makes me feel a little better.  And goes to prove that technology isn't quite intelligent enough to compare my works.  That makes me feel a lot better.  I don't know if I could handle the onus of writing The Godfather Part IV.

PS:  For funsies, I ran my senior thesis through that. Not giving you an excerpt, but here is the result:

I write like
Vladimir Nabokov
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Oh dear. Is that what I wrote about?? No wonder I got an A!!