Category Archives: Novels

Site Redesign and Project Update(s)

Just wanted to let everyone know that despite the lack of activity on this page that I had not gone away. In fact, I have been spending a great deal of time considering redesigns of this page so you may see a lot of things moving around, added, deleted and generally reshuffled as I work to find a new format that appeals to me.

In the meantime, I’ve managed to update a new model for the lead character of another project, Chains of Artemis, that you can find in the Gallery section.

Boredom, the Executive Producer

All things considered, today has been unusually productive. Not only did I manage to renovate the website (although admittedly it was an accident at first… but I still had to spend time cleaning it up afterward). Then I began work on updating my old DeviantArt gallery which included finally coloring an image that I had sketched in pencil about three years ago. After that, I completed an updated concept image for a character in the project I am currently working on and continued with the process of reworking the plot line for the story behind the project. And to what do I owe this unbridled bit of productivity? As you can tell from the title of this post: Boredom. I’ve had no one to talk to most of the day and haven’t been in the mood to play any of the video games I’m currently engaged in, and I don’t plan on seeing Captain America: Civil War until Monday when I have the day off work. It used to be that when I got bored, I’d cut my hair. Having considerably less hair than I used to, I guess I have to channel it into other tasks these days. 🙂

A Breaking of the Long Silence

I’ve been struggling for several months over what exactly to say here.  Truth be told, when I was actively streaming, I ended up saying more than I cared to and previous little I felt of substance.  Regardless, opening my mouth there kept me from opening my proverbial mouth here as I found myself out of topics that I cared to discuss.

That’s changed of late.  Realizing that perhaps active streaming is not my calling and, further, that it impeded me having the daily time necessary to tend after my own health needs and interests, I’ve decided to refocus my attention on Youtube and my older, original projects (that is to say, my art, novels and game design ambitions).  That isn’t to say I won’t stream at all — far from it.  I still rather enjoy my biweekly live role plays and I will still get the occasional urge to play some video game or other before a live digital audience.

Aside from that, I’ve recently learned that a site I use as a gallery has been acquired by another company that, frankly, annoys me.  Despite the assurances of the site’s operator, I do not trust my artwork in the hands of the new owners, and given my ownership of this particular website — something I’ve owned longer than that particular gallery has existed — I’ve decided to relocate and exclusively post my artwork here.  To that end, I hope that will inspire me to be a touch more vocal in this blog!  🙂  And now, for the latest:

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Playing at NaNoWriMo

It’s that time of year again when aspiring authors hunker down and dedicate 30 days of their life to pursuits most literary in the annual challenge known as NaNoWriMo.  And what, pray tell, have I been doing so far this month?  Tragically… nothing.  Well, to be accurate, it isn’t that I’ve done nothing; in fact, I’ve transferred my notes for Heresies of Ash to a One Note folder so that I can better organize and work on the project (although that does hamstring me from slipping any time in on the project when I’m not at home).

As part of the process in converting over to my One Note folder, I expanded somewhat on a few of the characters, giving names to the nameless and ironing out some relations.  I’ve even scoured the internet looking for images that inspired me for several of the characters, and where I could not find a single image, I spent a few hours in Photoshop manipulating constituent pieces together into something more fitting.  Still, nothing that would qualify as actually… you know… novel writing.

Tonight, I finally sat down and penned a brief encounter that finally sets the wheels of the plot moving — a critical encounter where the protagonist first encounters his would-be “ally”.  Ironically, this journal entry recounting my efforts probably has a greater word count than what I actually managed to commit to the project; and most of that was in the form of side notes and directions for later narratives.

The month being a third over, I will be hard pressed to actually reach the obligatory 50,000 word count, however I will continue to push forward.

Progress Measured in Minutes

In spite of everything, I managed to get off my considerable posterior and make some headway on the current novel.  Not only did I manage to finally come up with a name for the work-in-progress, but I also came up with a secondary title which could serve as the name for a longer series if things evolve in that direction.

I also managed to work my way through a stumbling point in the plot where I could not convince the characters to behave in the manner I needed them to so as to move the story to the next logical step.  After sounding it out with my friend, I managed to come up with a solution so simple that I nearly wanted to punch myself for taking so long to see it.

Now comes the more challenging a more ill-defined portion of the plot where the story needs to expand to incorporate and explain “the greater danger” beyond the personal lives of the main characters.

Writing on the River

Last night I went out to visit with my friend.  Since she typically practices dragonboat races on Tuesday nights, I had a liesurely dinner at one of the restaurants that overlooks the river so that I could watch her paddling back and forth with her team.  Fortunately, I had the foresight to bring my notepad with me and was able to jot some plot points down for the novel, further ironing out some of the elements in my head and placing them in a somewhat more logical series.

I would have loved to have made some additional progress on the city map or further character development, but once I got home, I passed out rather soundly for the remainder of the night.  I suspect real progress is going to require a notable vacation period from work.  I curse that there are but 24 hours in day.  🙂

Independence from Procrastination

As much as I would like to say I was extremely productive this past holiday weekend, I’ll suffice it to say that I didn’t completely procrastinate.  While the 4th was the obligatory day for rest and relaxation, I spent much of Saturday preparing graphics and show notes for our guild’s weekly livestream.  Sunday morning, I participated in the livestream, discussing the segments that I had previously prepared and later went on to monitor the chatroom while  the other members of the guild continued on with their portions of the stream.

Later, when I went back to review the broadcast to see how well it turned out — convinced as I was that it was, to date, one of our best performances yet — I discovered a certain significant fault in myself.  I say “uh” way too much.  There were some sentences where I “uh’d” may way through three or four times.  This wouldn’t disturb me if I had been improvising the discussion on the fly but this was something I had written a virtual script for.  It’s funny — some people are assigned profanity jars to collect money when they say bad words… I’ll have an “uh” jar.  Or better yet, we can turn it into a drinking game… everyone will be completely sloshed by the end of the broadcast.  🙂

That particular bit of embarassing self-realization aside, I did work some more on one of my novel projects — the rewrite of Scribe.  Previously, I had expanded on the culture and caste system, updated two of the main characters (including photo manipulations to have a reasonable idea of what they might look like).  I’m currently in the midst of designing the capital city itself — no small task since I’ve never attempted to create an actual fantasy city map before, let alone combine topographical and iconographic elements together in the same map.  After working on that for a few hours, I decided to work on the photo manipulation of a third main character, Anksarta — and although I’m not 100% satisfied with the current results, I think they’re more than sufficient to move forward in the meantime.

Introduction to the World of Gothica

I’ll begin this journal by apologizing for the likelihood of rambling and incoherency in the image below — I was half asleep when I wrote it.

Gothica is a world I had invented several years ago that, on the surface, was very much in keeping with the traditional European horror genre — dark, forboding forests punctuated by small hamlets filled with superstitious villagers speaking in heavy accents and telling tales of the multitudes of foul creatures that stalked the night.  I say “on the surface” because the twist with Gothica is that it actually took place in the future after a supernatural apocalypse brought a premature end to what we lovingly call “modern society”.

I’ve often wanted to return to that particular world but my only forays previously had been to run incomplete role playing sessions that barely managed to scratch the surface of its mysteries.  But I can’t let any of my projects truly die off without a fight and so I decided to infuse a little life into the world by taking it in a steampunk direction in the hope that I would be able to rewrite some of my shorter storylines to take place there instead of the real world.

I’m taking this as a personal challenge since I know so little about the steampunk genre; but in an effort to forge ahead and force myself to learn and adapt, I’ve produced the 3D character concept for the main protagonist, Keagan (shown below).

Initial Gothica project log with 3d character concept for Keagana.
Initial Gothica project log with 3d character concept for Keagan.

And so it begins…

Managed to get through an initial (very) rough draft of the start of the “B” storyline for Drakkencaste.  I felt obligated to have at least one traditional “the party meets in a tavern” moment since I don’t think I’ve ever actually started a story or campaign that way before.  🙂  The trick now is as I’m working on these, I’m having to decide which character is serving as point-of-view, rather than my standard third person omniscient.

The Path of Inspiration

It’s funny how stories begin to evolve.  There was a time when I would sit down and start writing and whatever evolved, evolved.  This often lead to a lot of meandering tales with no real sense of purpose or direction, repleat with dead-ends and angst of the moment sufficient to make a pre-pubescent manic depressive minotaur wince.

These days, I try my best to be more purposeful in my story telling, especially as I go back through older tales and rework them into something a tad more readable.  Most recently, I was amused to notice how the secondary storyline for Drakkencaste had evolved.  By taking a historical point required by the main story, I decided to introduce a character that would in some way have to investigate that incident.  Digging back through my repetoire of unused characters, I settled on a notorious explorer/trader character to serve as the ‘alpha dog’ of this secondary storyline.

While bouncing ideas of my friend as a sounding board for directions the plotline could take, I ultimately decided to take a portion of the main storyline and give those activities to the new character.  I now had a plan:  Step 1: Write a novel. Step 3: Profit!  Step 2: To be determined later.

It was one thing to have a character and a place for him to go, but it turns out that without the middling intermediate incidents, the rest of tales as more or less meaningless and best summarized as a footnote in some obscure chapter.  After banging my head against those ‘intermediate incidents’, I was listening to some music in the hope of feeling inspired and in the span of 30 minutes came across two songs that I felt not only perfectly captured my beneath-the-surface drive for the main character, but another that could lead to an interesting plot complication.

And so, knowing I was planning to make use of an old enemy faction in this world and give them a larger role in the affairs of the kingdom, I brought in the complication of cross-faction love.  Already, I can see the wheels of complexity filling in the gaps, and as much as I would like to spell them out, that risks giving away far too much information about the plot.  But perhaps I’ll consider posting the photo manipulated pictures to give a feel for the growing populace of the novel.

More later!