Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Etched in Black

I don't really like writing synopses (I think that's the way you pluralize that), but this one is fair, and shows to some extent how far I've gotten in outlining Etched in Black! Due to bugging by good friends and recently setting up a writing-exchange with a fellow writer, I hope to get back on top of Forest of Lies editing soon, intimidating as it is. So, without further ado, the 5th or so synopsis of Etched in Black*:

Fear stalks medieval England. With the Pope’s closure of their churches and excommunication of their King, the English people live in fear of the damnation of their children and the prevalence of witches. Yvette has little time for such issues, however, when dealing with the abduction of her father. Ever the target of unjust accusations, Yvette only seeks to rescue her father from whatever clutches she may find him in--if ever she can get there.

Yet this is no simple abduction. The abductor seems intent on leading Yvette straight to him in a cruel game of cat-and-mouse. Even her unexpected friends can do little to help as she is emotionally and physically battered, beginning to believe the words of worthlessness that have whirled around her since her birth. Will she ever be able to shake off her guilt over things far passed? Will justice be served in a world of darkness? But, most important, will Yvette recognize her worth not only to herself, but to the One who died for her?

--

I might've put too much context in the first paragraph, but I'll deal with it for now. I'm attempting to make the religious unrest a semi-major plot point so it seemed best to mention it. My school is going practically full-blast now, so the blog schedule will be a bit shaky for a few weeks, until I get a better idea of what exactly I can and cannot do. This one seemed easy, considering I wrote the above just five minutes ago!

Also, worthy of mention on a Robin Hood blog: today I start my community college archery class!

~Nai

August 27-August 30, 2010
Outlining: 1 hour
Editing: 30 minutes
Critiquing (Saturday): 15 minutes

*Etched in Black's title is currently a "working title" as, with the changes I've made, another title may be more appropriate.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Some Random Dribble

It is now 7:24 and I have no inspiration whatsoever for what I next wish to do on this blog. A recent post on a blog by a friend of mine (I'm not sure if she wishes to be linked to, so I'll leave you in agony over who) has inspired me to flood you with character-posts, whether you would read them or no. However, your delight or fear is delayed for the moment, as I don't wish to write any right now, except maybe about Gervais, and that would be way out of order. I can't abide things out of order.

O' course, as I say this: about having no inspiration and whatnot...I can't help thinking: "well, I'm a slacker." To write only when one has inspiration is not to be a writer. You have to write whether you have inspiration or not. I haven't heard many people say: "wow, I am so inspired to edit!!" (except maybe me, and that was before my editing process had really begun). You're not inspired to edit; you need to edit, and if you want the completed work badly enough, you will. Editing or revising, of course, has its flashes just as normal writing, but the flashes won't make a completed book anymore than the writing flashes will suddenly make a book exist. It's a lot of hard work. Inspiration lightens the load now and again, but most of the time it's not there to help you.

So I apologies for my laziness in not wanting to post about my characters, unless you don't want me to, in which case I congratulate you on your good luck because of my laziness. (Did that make sense at all?)

My outlining goes well. One might say I'm inspired. I haven't edited in...six days? I have three days left. I need to get some done today, obviously. Preferably a lot, but that's not likely to happen with everything else I need to do. See, my lecture about editing and writing is as directed towards me as anyone else.

For fear of being an extreme bore, I'll draw this to a close pretty soon. I will let the world know that I am now an educated and fulfilled human being ([/heavy sarcasm]) as I have seen the movie Back to the Future. I heard those gasps. Yes, I've seen it now, and I must say, enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. What followed it? Hamlet, of course. Aaah, good ol' Shakespeare. I had a thought while watching it (again) however. Yoda isn't the first character to talk backwards and shouldn't get so much credit for it ([/joshing]). Take a load of these...

"Break we our watch up" (I.i.168).

"A truant disposition, good my lord" (I.ii.169).

"In faith, My lord, not I" (I.iv.143).

Not to pick on Horatio...

"Come, go we to the king" (II.i.117).

"Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death/The memory be green" (I.ii.1-2).

Is't amusing? Brilliant, doubtless, but amusing as well--what say you?

Until next time,
Nai

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Writing for God

I’ve taken lousy “goal” notes since I last posted, so all I know is that I’ve probably spent 4 to 5 hours on outlining and 0 hours on editing. I know, bad me, especially with the fact that I’m far ahead of my outlining goal and drawing near my editing goal. I’m about to miss one, I warrant.

This post may seem suspiciously TheoEc-y, but it belongs here as much as there--as a writer, I have to know what I’m writing for, and why. So here’s some of my “for and why.”

What does it mean to write for God?

My own perception about this has changed as I have grown older and matured. I’m not sure how often I’ve said that I write for God, but I know I’ve only actively believed it since sometime during my Forest of Lies writing. I don’t remember when exactly it was--if it came after I wrote my showdown, which would have been late February or early March in 2009, or after I finished the book in its entirety in late March, or even when I began the editing process in mid-April. I don’t really remember, but I would guess it was after I wrote the showdown. Because when I wrote the showdown, I realized that the book wasn’t mine. That chapter brought me to tears--it was so beautiful, such heart-wrenching loveliness that I knew I couldn’t have “created it” like I would like to believe. I couldn’t feel clever about my original plot and characters anymore. I realized, with that beauty, that there was something else going on--I couldn’t have written something that had such beauty, because I wasn’t that beautiful.

I do remember being in my room, and holding whatever I had printed off of Forest of Lies at the time, and knowing the story wasn’t mine, and I couldn’t bring it to fulfillment. God’s given me a gift as a writer, but He’s still the ultimate story-teller. I told Him then that it was His book, and it had been all along, and that I couldn’t do this on my own.

I don’t mean this as “props for me” because there’s an embarrassing number of times when I’ve had to slow down, realize this all over again, and re-dedicate my life and work to Him. When I freak out about not being able to pull stuff together the way I want to, or the weight of editing that has to be done, I’m forgetting my partner in this business, the one who does a better job than I do.

Dedication to Him isn’t all. There’s also the continuous attempt to be working on the project that He wants you on. You have to pray about each book, editing, outlining, writing--I’ve gotten to the point where I say: “Please, show me which one I need to focus on. Make it clear.” Each story idea you have to evaluate, and decide: will this bring glory to God?

When you write the kind of book that I do--which deals with the world as it really is, dark, sinful, and full of lies--you have to be careful, especially when it comes to evil. You have to show what evil is, or people aren’t going to buy the fact that good really exists and is really as great as you say it is. But you also don’t want to get obsessed with the evil you’re showing, and go into it at extravagant lengths. Evil for evil’s own sake is never a good idea, and there have been times when I’ve been sucked that way.

This conviction (will this bring glory to God?) is also part of the reason I’ve been held to the historical fiction genre. I know that God can be glorified through fantasy and science fiction, but I also know that I can’t do it very well, especially in fantasy. In fantasy, you by necessity have to set up some kind of allegory if the world is to make sense at all, and at the present time, I don’t feel comfortable creating a character for God. In science fiction, you find a genre even more firmly held by the secular world and atheists--most accounts of aliens, warp speed, and time travel are fun to read and watch, but depend the non-existence of God. For one, it’s far easier to believe in aliens if you believe everything evolves anyway--so of course there must be other life forms somewhere. The greater technology developed and civilizations at peace depend on the greatness of Man, which doesn’t really exist.

I got on a bit of a tangent there, but I don’t mean to say there’s no such thing as science fiction which glorifies God, though I’ve seen very, very little of it--in fact, only C.S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy comes to mind--but that I’ve chosen to opt out of both it and fantasy because of my uncertainty and, quite frankly, youth.

Another facet, which can be an encouraging one, is that when you write for God you don’t really have to write for the masses. Of course, “the masses” may end up loving your book, and hopefully being changed by it, but that’s note the first priority. My writing teacher has asked me, and dozens of other young writers, if we’d rather have thousands of people read and enjoy and forget our book, or have it read by one person--and have it change their life. It’s pretty easy to guess the answer. I’ve also come to realize that that one person can be me. Even if I end up writing only in a way that grows me as a Christian and a writer, it’ll be worth it. I’m not just saying this as an idea. Because, when I remember, Forest of Lies is worth a ton to me, if only because of what I learned about me, about writing, and about God through it.

If I didn’t write for God, I wouldn’t have these things to worry about. I wouldn’t have to remember who’s the real author. I wouldn’t have to pray about the stories and characters I’m dealing with. But if I didn’t write for God, I don’t think writing would be worthwhile to me. The One Year Adventure Novel curriculum says at one point something like: “boundaries inspire creativity.” On the very physical level, this is true. On a higher level, if I wasn’t always trying to remember that it’s not me, but Him--I wouldn’t get to go to the beautiful places that even I can’t imagine. Forest of Lies wouldn’t exist, not in the form it is in.

So, my suggestion? Don’t write for yourself. Don’t even write for readers. Write for God, and see where it takes you.

Soli Deo Gloria!
~Nai

Thursday, August 19, 2010

"These foils have all a length?"

Hamlet, V.ii.276

August 17-18, 2010
Outlining: 2 hours, 5 minutes
Editing: 30 minutes

This week must be "quote Shakespeare week" on my blogs, what with my quoting of Othello in TheoEc this week. This quote, however, has a little happier meaning for me, though unfortunately it means the "present death of Hamlet" (IV.iv.66). (See, I've seen the darn thing way too many times.) Why the mentioning of "foils"?

I have started fencing! And boy, do I have weird muscles hurting this morning. Retreating, advancing, and "on guard" position are more strenuous than one might assume. Especially "on guard." Yowch.

I actually did get to give my prepared answer for "so, why are you taking fencing?" As you should perhaps be able to guess: "Too much Hamlet!"

I really like it so far, though, not just because of Hamlet. It's hard and hurts (and therefore I'm guessing that it is excellent PE), but there's also a lot of precision and awareness about where your body is, and balance, and things. Yes, I've only had one lesson. That's what I got from that, though. It felt almost like sport as an art form. Which was really cool. I like art. ;)

As you might be able to guess, my outlining is going quite well! I've been watching 3 OYAN video lessons a day, which I don't recommend for people just starting the curriculum, but has been working very well for me, as a good way to remember all the techniques I wish to employ once I get completely underway with Etched in Black. I've also had little trouble filling out the map worksheets, which is also good. I've got a good idea of this story and its characters, and OYAN is helping me pull it together.

Editing has been fair, too, though I have a little bit of self-doubt on whether it is actually improving, or just changing. Obviously, I want improvement. I guess we'll see once I start posting and seeing what others think. I hope I can get some new eyes on it. It's good to know a lot of other writers, I've found. New eyes are almost always better for new drafts, and you can go through so many "eyes" with just one draft that you need to find a whole slew of them every year or two.

I have noticed a slight "tempering" (I think that word works like I want it too) of Marian's voice...she's become a little more subdued. This worried me at first, because I'm trying to make her voice stronger, but I think it is actually, overall, a slight change in character, and the voice is following. I haven't been purposefully doing this, but I'm going to fly with it...its kind of hard to choose NOT to do something that seems to be coming out naturally, and usually a bad idea, I've found. We'll see where that leads me story-wise. It might prove to be better for the story, and help improve it where I want to. We shall see.

Hmm...in other news? I've seen "Sisterhood," "Booby and the Beast," and "Childhood" for the second (sometimes third or fourth time) in the last couple of weeks, and that's been fun. I was worried after the re-watch of "Angle of Death" that I wasn't going to like the others, because that one wasn't as good as I remembered it. Turns out that one just wasn't as good as I remembered it. At least, only that one so far. I've been brainstorming some Robin Hood-specific topics to address in upcoming blog posts...but who knows how long it'll take me to get through rambling about my everyday life and actually do some of them. I still haven't delivered the promised "traditional"-ism post. Ah well, there's always tomorrow. Well, we assume there's always tomorrow.

"But let that go..."

~Nai

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I Guess I'm the Tolkien

August 12, 2010 - August 16, 2010
Critiquing: 2 hours, 50 minutes
Editing: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Outlining: 1 hour, 20 minutes

I condensed for your easier reading of my goals. I did not meet all of my goals on every single of those days, but I met at least one, usually two. Critiquing is dropping to a weekend thing this week with the arrival and passing of the contest deadline and the beginning of Fencing and Italian community college classes this week.

I wasn’t sure initially what to write about in this post (seems like that happens to me a lot, don’t it?), but then I remembered a conclusion I’ve sort of come to about my writing style. This doesn’t mean I write fantasy with incredibly deep worlds (if I could, I might, but I can’t) and really long books. It’s more of what I’ve concluded (perhaps incorrectly) about C.S. Lewis and Tolkien.

I’ll stop talking in riddles and attempt to explain. A while back, in the height of my first LotR-fandom kick, I read some biographies about Tolkien. What fact has stuck with me the most? He spent 17 years on Lord of the Rings. That’s a loooong time. I’ve been alive that long, for one thing. I’ve long joked about editing: “well, I’ve still got 14 years to get it right!”

C.S. Lewis, on the other hand, had 7 books released in 7 years--and if I remember correctly, had them all written in 5 or 6 years. Lewis also brought us his Space Triology, Till We Have Faces, Screwtape, and numerous non-fiction books. Tolkien was never quite finished with The Silmarillion.

So, now some correlation with what I’ve begun to experience and/or realize. It took me approximately 23 months and several false-starts to finally realize what Forest of Lies’s story was going to look like. My “Robin Hood book” first shows its face in November of 2006, and I got my BLAM moment in late October of 2008. Granted, after that, the story flew by--especially the writing, which took me under three months. I’m getting close to my 4-year mark, then, when it comes to working on what has become Forest of Lies.

In the same vein, Etched in Black’s story is finally coming together, after approximately 17 months of false-starts, and 95,000 words written in it. Not to mention I’d spent six years on Betsy Flowain before I started OYAN and learned how to really write a story.

“Well, so?”

I’m surrounded by others who complain about getting story ideas so often that it’s hard to keep up with them. My last honest-to-goodness new story idea? December 2009. You can contribute this to the fact that maybe I get hyper-focused on whatever I’m working on and don’t think “outside the box” very much when I’m in the zone of a story. This could be true, because I got more story ideas before starting OYAN. Not untold hundreds (or dozens) that my peers speak about, however.

Also, I have several friends who can come up with a story idea, write it, edit it, and then enter it into a contest--all in a year or under. I can’t seem to do that. It annoys me. Such books are as good as or better than my slaved-over FoL, yet they were written in half the time, or a quarter of the time (or even write two novels in half the time it took me to write one). Why IS that? I’ve had some jealousy over this fact. I’ve assumed it’s because I’m not to good and a host of other reasons. After all, I haven’t as yet met other authors that function the same way--so it must be a problem with me. I’m not sure it is, though. I know I love to write, and I know I’m good at it. (Hopefully I can say that without sounding conceited.) I’m not great yet, but I’m good. Maybe I just work slower. Annoying as that is when it comes to yearly contest, maybe it’s really fine.

Maybe I’m just the Tolkien of the forum, in other words. And I love both Tolkien AND Lewis’s work, so I’m not looking down on Lewis or the other writers. I’ve just noticed the difference and stuck a tag on it, accurate or no. But it is comforting, like that 17-years I’ve got. I’m reading Lord of the Rings for about the twentieth time right now, and I’m loving it. If it takes me 17 years to get FoL that good, I think I’m willing to take that time. 13 years to go.

~Nai

P.S. That image has yet un-released words from a new Forest of Lies scene that I worked in while in Iowa City. Yes, mysterioussss...

Sunday, August 15, 2010

To OYANers

Because you dare.

You dare to write a novel in 9 months.

You dare to Mean Something in a meaningless world.

You dare to show Truth.

You dare to stare at a piece of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.

You dare to stumble around, trying to make characters come alive.

You dare to make them suffer, to make the Something to Want worth something.

You dare to create conflict.

You dare to try to knock over your Something to Learn with a sledgehammer.

You dare to make your Black Moment black.

You dare to make the characters you love hate you.

You dare to make the Showdown the toughest thing yet.

You dare to make it a Battle of Ideals.

You dare to let your story leave the perfect sanctuary of your mind and come out into the imperfect world of letters, words, and sentences.

You dare to share it with the World of Writers, to learn how to make it better.

You dare to go back to your squalling brain-child, to edit and revise.

You dare to forego adverbs, passive voice, and expostulated.

You dare to lose some hair in the process.

You dare to then submit it to judges, to let others see your words, your heart.

You dare to write the adventure of a lifetime.

And then, you dare to do it again.

Because, you know, the world doesn’t end on August 15th.

There are more stories to be written and more hair to lose.

And loads more to dare.

Love to all,
Nai

Friday, August 13, 2010

Goodbye, Scarborough

Despite my earnest wish for my heroine of my Forest of Lies sequel to make it to Scarborough, the sea-town where Robin Hood allegedly got a job on board a fishing ship, and then defeated some pirates...I have decided for the moment to cut it from Yvette's already lengthy trek across ancient England.

The reason for this slaughter? It cuts off 50 miles and hopefully a bit of writing on a book that was getting quite lengthy and something repetitive. Now the mysterious villain will hold Yvette's father in York, instead, or even Leeds.

I do love British town names. The other places we get to visit in Etched in Black? Nottingham, Mansfield, and Sheffield. I think I cut Doncaster. *consults "G" Encyclopedia* Aye, there's no reason for Doncaster unless...oh, but there's some mountains. Interesting. I keep forgetting England has mountains. They might go through Doncaster after all...to swerve East and away from the mountains, but Lincoln is definitely out of the question, much as I'd like to visit that in Etched too.

Know something? Encyclopedias can be a historical fiction novelist's best friends. I myself have The World Book Encyclopedia, the 1990 version. Also in my pile today is a "World Atlas" book where I doubled-checked those skimpy mountains. Another of my tools this morning was Google maps, where I took a look at how much of Yvette's journey I'd cut off by not going all the way to Scarborough. Of course, the miles depend on the roads traveled and modern things, but I'm not really look at hours. Though I do wonder...how far can a sixteen-year-old, two fourteen-year-olds, and a twenty-three-year-old walk in one day? Nottingham to York is still a good 100 miles, and that was calculated without the Doncaster detour. I'll have to find that out sometime.

All writers can testify to the strange google searches, but historical fiction have more and sometimes less fun ones--like trying to figure out something, ANYTHING, about King John's rule beyond the Magna Carta, which is nigh on impossible. I did find out that England was put under some kind of punishment by the Pope in 1208 (I'm always forgetting the specific name of what it was), and all the churches were shut down. I'm still trying to figure out how to bring that up in the book, because quite by coincidence, my book takes place in 1208.

Aye, you're reading the date right as well: it is a Friday, and contrary to popular belief, I'm not actually neglecting TheoEc, even though probably no one would care if I did. What I'm now neglecting is actually working on Etched in Black, and I'd better get back to that. I'm very encouraged with the work so far--I've already figured out the answers to some of the bugs that have been around for a year. Hopefully I'll figure out more!

I did so want to go to Scarborough. Oh well.

~Nai

Image from Wikipedia.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Robin Hood and His Adventures

Insert a semi-evil chuckle as you will, readers. For I did sneak onto the blog and post on Wednesday evening! Now comes Thursday morning, with a review, as promised. I do not yet know if you either grown or rejoice at these postings, so if you have any specific inclination either way, please comment and tell me of it. Now, onto the review!


Robin Hood or Robin Hood and His Adventures
by Paul Creswick (1866-1947)

362 pages
ISBN: 0-684-18180-0
My copy published by Charles Scribner’s Sons
Some editions illustrated by N.C. Wyeth



Plot
* * *
Though this book often lacks a little in the page-turning aspect (most chapters end on a fairly “stoppable” note), it is a Robin Hood plot I enjoy. As I said in the review of Outlaw, to find even a fair plot in Robin Hood is to find a good Robin Hood plot. This one is interesting, because Robin doesn’t become an outlaw for a good length of time. This is one of the reasons I didn’t buy the Russell Crowe Robin Hood tagline about it being the “story before the legend”--I’ve seen a interpretation of the story before! Though this fact slows down the book a little, is interesting to see Robin grow up, and see his characteristics even before he is a man. It gives you a good long while to get attached to this little fellow, who has a bunch of misfortunes, some brought on by himself, others not. I like seeing what has formed the Robin of the later books, and seeing the people aligning themselves against him makes the reader wish to align alongside him.
Also, the overarching villain and villainess (an interesting character) get some good development too, and aren’t just some “out there” Sheriff who wants to get rid of a problem. These people, especially the villainess, have some reasons why they want Robin Hood, and we’re able to see them.
The Marian/Robin subplot is something of a weak point, seeming a little too-good-to-be-true, but as it causes Robin some issues and heartache, it is somewhat redeemed. Besides that, Marian/Robin is the only romance I like, and the one in this book is simple and sweet.

Characters * * *
As I said, the first half of the book allows one to grow close to this little lad called Robin, who’s attempting to do a man’s job before he’s really a man. Robin Hood characters are much like Robin Hood plots, too--fair is good. These are better then fair, somehow, though I can’t say why. I just grow close to this Robin. That’s that. Marian’s sweet, members of the band gain some distinction from each other (especially Will Stuteley--I really enjoy this version of him), and the villains have some definition to them. The villainess (I’m not giving her name on purpose) is perhaps a little over-evil, but I enjoy disliking and being scared of her. She pulls off better plots than her male counterpart, and this is interesting.

Golden Arrow * * * *
This book is a very Robin Hood book. There’s not much else to say about it. What makes it even more enjoyable for someone like me, is the “classic” feel to it--probably gained by its age. It has an archaic feel in its dialogue and narration that goes even beyond that, so it feels more in-period then some do, without getting hilariously funny, like Howard Pyle’s does. (Intentionally, I think, but that’s for a different review.) This one is quite good. Very Robin Hood.

“Fluently!” * * * *
Though there’s nothing particularly striking or quotable about this dialogue, I do enjoy it, partly because of the archaic feel I mentioned before. The characters are clever, and even amidst the “knave,” “harkee,” “in sooth,” and “perchance” it flows very naturally, with the characters responding well to each other. Though not always in-stitches funny, it is good dialogue.

Others * * * *
As I’ve said before, this part is hard to rate. But, as I can’t think of any objections to put here, I’ll go ahead and rate it “very good.” Most of the diversions from the well-trodden plot of Robin Hood I’ve mentioned in my other sections. All in all, it’s a very fun ride. A bit thick and slow on the first reading, but it gets better with every subsequent one.
Oh! I did think of another one. N.C. Wyeth, a painter, did several paintings for this version (I’m pretty sure), and you can find them in some printings of the book, mine, for example. They’re quite good, and I really like them.

Overall Thoughts and Rating * * * *
This one definitely earns a four. I panicked and bought it when I found out the library was weeding them out. I think it is no longer in print, and this saddens me very much. This book is not only a good Robin Hood, it’s a good book in general.

--

I may have to go back and adjust my rating system sometime, to allow for some .5s or something, so I don’t end up with them all looking about the same! This one is really good. Highly recommend it. Definitely more so than Outlaw.

Signing off,
Nai

Picture again taken from Amazon.com. You can buy the book for $4 on there, apparently! (Used)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

New Goals

August 11th, 2010
Editing: 30 minutes
Critiquing: 1 ½ hours

First off, for some strange and inexplicable reason, I have no records of August 10th. The only thing I have is when I started critiquing my lovely friend Lizzie’s novel at 7:51 AM, and did 58 pages. That probably translated to a little over an hour, considering I’ve consistently done about 25 pages in 30 minutes. So we’ll say that for August 10th. I know I didn’t get any editing done. *goes to corner of shame*

I did this morning, though! That being because yesterday I figured out what my writing and editing schedule will be, if I wish to have a new book, Etched in Black, rough drafted by the end of March, and Forest of Lies Draft IV done by the middle of May. Why these particular dates? The OYAN Summer Workshops--twelve weeks of editing--start mid- to late May, and I wish to run both novels through the shredder then. You’re supposed to take off a few weeks after finishing a rough draft, thus the earlier end-date for Etched.

Wouldst mine dear blog readers wish to see the dates I have all figured out? Well, thou art (this is singular, but how do you pluralize this kind of talk?) silent, so I must chooseth on mine own! Here it goes...(my reason for this torture is that telling a few people about it will help me stay on track--kind of NaNoWriMo-y philosophy):

Forest of Lies
FoL Official Start Date: Now
FoL: Chapter I, Draft IV ~ Complete August 28
FoL, Chapter II ~ September 18
FoL, Chapter III ~ October 9
FoL, Chapter IV ~ October 30
FoL, Chapter V ~ November 20
FoL, Chapter VI ~ December 11
-No Christmas Break Unless I Get Ahead-
FoL, Chapter VII ~ January 1
FoL, Chapter VIII ~ January 22
FoL, Chapter IX ~ February 12
FoL, Chapter X ~ March 5
FoL, Chapter XI ~ March 26
FoL, Chapter XII ~ April 16
FoL, COMPLETE DRAFT IV ~ May 14
--SWs!--

Etched in Black
EiB Official Start Date: September 5
EiB, Finish “Story Building” part of OYAN ~ October 30
EiB, Finish “Story Skeleton” ~ November 13
EiB, Finish “Novel Outline” ~ December 4
EiB, Completely Finish Outlining ~ December 18
-Christmas Break-
EiB, Write Chapter 1 ~ January 15
EiB, Chapter 2 ~ January 22
EiB, Chapter 3 ~ January 29
EiB, Chapter 4 ~ February 5
EiB, Chapter 5 ~February 12
EiB, Chapter 6 ~ February 19
EiB, Chapter 7 ~ February 26
EiB, Chapter 8 ~ March 5
EiB, Chapter 9 ~ March 12
EiB, Chapter 10 ~ March 19
EiB, Chapter 11 ~ March 26
EiB, COMPLETE DRAFT I ~ April 2
--Break Until SWs--

~~~

Ai, terrifying, isn’t it? I think I’ll start a tab so that you can keep...tabs...on me, if I fail to mention it in my blog (highly doubt it, but it might happen). Yes, starting in January, I will be writing entire chapters in one week. It’s how OYAN works. The good thing is, you’ve already laid the path, and all you have to do is sprint down what you’ve planned. Another good thing is that the harder part of Forest editing (the first half) pairs up with the easier part of Etched writing (outlining), and vice versa. So I might not explode. Also, I’ve already started in on Etched in the hopes of getting the slightest bit of a lead.

But wait! There’s more! Also as the school year closes in, my critiquing/editing/writing/outlining goals will change. I’m not sure exactly how it all will work out yet, but I only have officially an hour of writing on school days, and that’s for everything--blogs, FoL, EiB, and all the critiquing. Obviously, this isn’t going to work so well. Critiquing will probably move completely to the weekend, where I will hope to spend an hour to two hours on it. I’m not sure what yet I’ll do with the blogs. I might alternate days between hour-long bouts with FoL and EiB. We shall see!

So, two deadlines now to aim for:
FoL, Chapter 1 Draft IV to complete on August 28
and
EiB, Finish “Story Building” part of OYAN by October 30

Now, let’s see how far behind I fall, shall we?

~Nai

P.S. I have this nagging feeling I'm forgetting to say something on here that I meant to say...but I can't figure out what it is. So I give up.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Day of Doom Approachith






August 9th, 2010
Editing: 0
Critiquing: 30 minutes for sure, plus I probably spent another 30-45 consulting/advising the author who's work I'd critiqued.

I didn't intend to mention this until the actual entry-date of August 15th, but I can't stop thinking about it, so I will mention it.

On August 15th, young writers from all over the United States (even all over the world) will have their last chance to submit their brain-children to the third One Year Adventure Novel Contest (contest page). This is my only year since it started that I'm sitting out. I've been slightly depressed in the months after my initial decision, but now I'm terribly excited. I think it's the weight of trying to win that's been taken off me; I can now fully appreciate OYAN for the wonderful thing that it is, and root thoroughly for my friends (and sister!).

I mention OYAN on my lengthy "about me" page, as well as the Forest of Lies page, I believe. I haven't as yet mentioned in the "actual" blog. A few words? It's amazing. Before I took the course for the first time in 2007-2008, I had started many, many books. I hadn't finished single one. And besides that, they were a bore to read. (Well, my sister said otherwise, but she's biased.) 2007-2008 not only taught me the art of story, it gave me friends I very much needed at that time. Without OYAN and my teacher/mentor, I wouldn't have written Forest of Lies. It wouldn't exist. When I think about this, it baffles me. No FoL?!

Anyway, enough plugging of that. On Sunday, I plan to post some kind of tribute to all the brave souls entering this year. They've done something amazing, and I can't wait to hear the results! (And see how many people have entered! 5 the first year, 32 the second...where will it go this time?)

In other news, I still plan on getting a review up soon, probably of Paul Creswick's Robin Hood and His Adventures, and sometime I'm going to have to plunge in and discuss the topic of the "traditional" Robin Hood, and "how traditional" I think a Robin Hood should be.

~Nai

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I Wish I Had a Sonic Screwdriver










Because then, all of this would be much, much easier. Just bzap at the screen, and my blog would turn out completely how I want it! Most likely, I could even do things that blogger does not technically have, like a way to un-capitalize the titles on my gadgets o'er there to your right. I don't like all caps. IT MAKES ME THINK SOMEONE IS YELLING. Yeah.

Well, at least I got the color on said gadget titles changed, plus cut a few things so that I don't feel so crowded over there. Also got rid of icky Ariel font. *shiver* I configured TheoEc a lot when I set it up, because I had two hours of blog-class time in which to do it. So I got it all how I liked it, and then I set up Sherwood. Tired by then, I didn't configure as much...until now. Dun-dun!

What I WANT now, besides the un-capitalization of said gadget titles, is a way to maybe "box them in" like on Amzi's blog. Oh well. We'll go with this. (Besides, if I "boxed them in," we couldn't see the lovely tree right o'er there to your right as well.)

By now, you might be wondering if I'm ever going to mention Robin Hood or writing on this Robin Hood-and-writing blog. Well, I figure I don't exactly have to, as this is a "bonus post" anyway. 'sides that, I'm a little over-stimulated by how much sci-fi I've been seeing and talking about lately, though the "seeing" only applies to Star Trek and Star Wars, and Doctor Who unfortunately only in the talking compartment. Yes, as my sister would say, Sadness and Much Tears. In case you're wondering, I am also enjoying the opportunity to mention the Doctor and torture all of you His-Fic fans who thought I was sane and liked REAL things. I just hope you won't run away; I do have a review and a discussion on "traditional" Robin Hood coming up in the next week or so, so you shall be saved. I'm also debating talking about Hamlet on either this blog or the other one.

Whoops, that scared EVERYONE away, didn't it?

Moving on...I will go ahead and give you yesterday's totals:
August 6th, 2010
Critiquing: 33 minutes
Editing: 0 minutes

Yes, bad me. I like critiquing better then editing. It's less overwhelming. You get to tell someone all the stuff you think they need to fix, instead of fixing all the stuff you know you have to fix.

I think that's just about enough for today. Rant and rambling over.

By the way, I snitched both Tenth Doctor + SS pics from a blog that said that SHE got them from this place. Which I just clicked over to and went "oooooh" at.

In other news, I suggest any music or violin lovers (or both) try and find a recording/YouTube video of La Folia by Corelli. The FULL version, not Suzuki. About 9 minutes. It's gorgeous.

Shutting up now,
Nai

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Robin Hood meets Science Fiction

August 3, 2010
Critiquing: 50 minutes
Editing: 0

August 4, 2010
Critiquing: 36 minutes
Editing: 30 minutes

--

As you can see, on August 4th, I completed both parts of my goal. Hurrah and hurray. (Kind of like alas and alack, but more positive.) Also, worthy of mention, is the fact that I'm still on my blog schedule correctly. Molto bene!

One problem: I’m not sure what exactly to talk about in this post. Because of this, I’m wasting time trying to find out what exactly powers the Doctor’s sonic screwdriver. Sonic...power. I guess. That was my first thought when asked that, but Google searches aren’t revealing anything more...though I found a fun collection of Tenth Doctor shots with his sonic screwdriver.














Rambling...and bringing sci-fi onto a Robin Hood blog! Oh, the horrors! Actually, that could work as a bridge to the idea of sci-fi Robin Hood...because I’ve run into a few. Well, you might say, how do Robin Hood and science fiction go together?

My answer: wonderfully! I’ve read two interpretations of this, and I’ve heard of others. One I found in a book called Sherwood: Tales from the Legend of Robin Hood (or some such title). The book, edited by Jane Yolen, is a collection of short Robin Hood stories. Not my favorite book, but the last story is amazing. Amazing in terms of hilarious. In it, Robin Hood is a strange and unwieldy computer virus that is “distributing the wealth of the world in extraordinary ways” (completely off the top of my head. I hope that quote is correct.). The author’s version of the Sheriff attempts to quell this virus, but this only ends in disaster. “Thy cash! Thy car! Thy credit! Why, a Swiss bank account!” Despite the fact that this Sheriff inserts a disk that says: “Kill! Kill! KILL!” into the computer, all is lost. Literally. Anyway, it’s absolutely brilliant. You should try and find it, especially if you like science fiction. (Come to think of it, it’s not REALLY science fiction...not like Star Trek, Star Wars, and Doctor Who...but it’s definitely not 12th century England either.)

The other book I’m not quite sure why I read to the end. I guess because it was an interesting story. It is called The Sherwood Game--I don’t endorse it, and probably won’t ever read it again. In it, Robin is part of a virtual-reality game that becomes self-aware. He manages to get into some sort of very lifelike robotic thing that his maker’s boss produces. Then he manages to make friends with his maker’s boss and get away from said maker. His maker isn’t too happy about this, of course, and Robin, of course, doesn’t care. I don’t remember many of the details, but Robin eventually gets ALL of his band members these bodies and gets them out of the game and into real life, where they proceed to do what Robin Hood does best. Eventually, though, some kind of catastrophe brings computer game characters and their maker together against a common foe. Which I do not remember. Anyway. It’s interesting.

Wow, those are long paragraphs. This might become my longest Sherwood post to date! Because I have another thing to mention: mine. Yes, mine. I love Robin Hood, I think science fiction (and the less glamorous “futuristic”) is awesome, so why not combine them? In mine, which came out of my head in a bunch of scattered scenes in December 2008, Robert is involved in what you could very well call a dystopian society. (See, futuristic, not exactly sci-fi.) When he refuses to go along with some things, and asks one too many questions, he becomes a most-wanted of sorts. Unlike the traditional story, it’s not all about getting money back to those who have been stolen from. It’s about bringing down the government who steals from everyone. I have this book completely outlined, and, as I said, I have about a dozen major scenes written for it. That said, I’m not writing it. When I tried, it didn’t come out like I wanted. So, it ferments on the back burner (if I can combine those two metaphors).

Enough sci-fi Robin Hood for you? Fair enough. Since I snuck in this sci-fi post on what should be focused on his-fi, I might as well make a shameless plug before I depart: Doctor Who is made of awesome. The Tenth Doctor is made of epic. Try to find it, please, if you have any sci-fi leanings at all (or even historical fiction--he travels in time as well as space!). British things for the win!

~Nai

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

This and That

Editing: 10 minutes
Critiquing: 1 hour

Soooo...Robin Hood. Editing. What to write about? Beside the fact that for the first time I got TheoEc done on Monday and I'm now doing Nai on Tuesday? Hurrah!

I've also gotten the movie soundtrack for Russell Crowe's Robin Hood...and have a desire to see it again. Imagine! I, who gave it such a harsh review in terms of story, not even touching the Robin Hood elements (which were faintly there, enough for me), wanting to see it again! The truth is, I wanted to see it again right after I finished it...generally it takes a movie two takes for me to decide if I really like it or not. I guess I haven't yet adopted the normal American culture of new movie, new movie, new movie...possibly because in general I'd rather watch something I know I'll enjoy over some "new hatch'd, unfledg'd"...movie. You get the point.

As I am now an official student of my community college (no, I haven't finished high school yet. Dual credit!), there might actually be a cheap opportunity to do just that. The school's playing Robin Hood on August 27th. Where, or how much for, I'm not entirely certain. All the same, I think it would be good to investigate, yes?

In other news, I am almost daily fighting jealousy for friends and acquaintances who are going on vacations to Europe, who have already gone on vacations for Europe, etc. Of course, I don't need the whole Europe kit and kaboodle, but I would so love to go to England. So much so, sometimes, it hurts. Seems weird, to have so much longing for a place you've never seen--really seen. It's not just Robin Hood. I love the whole thing. I mean, there's Hadrian's wall, and tons of things in London, and Shakespeare...there's so much history on that little island! Stuff that's been there for hundreds (sometimes a couple thousand) years! I love old things. Brits, it seems, walk past old things every single day. Nottingham Castle (renaissance rebuilding that it is), smack in the middle of an urban city. You can go to street view from Google...people just walking past something that has been there longer then...oh, I don't know.

Okay, drooling done. Just a word of advice: beware of having friends and acquaintances that are the youngest or only child in their family. They're the ones that get to flippantly post on Facebook: I'm going to Europe!

Well, I'll get there. Someday. Somehow.

~Nai
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