Friday, December 20, 2013

Busy Month

It's been a busy, busy month!

Now, since NaNoWriMo ended, I haven't written more of the novel.  I have done some more plotting and time line work.  I've been busy with the holidays and spending time with my son during his holiday break, among other things.  Rest assured, I will be diving into the book again soon!  I'm very eager to get back to it.  I've got what you might call a writer's itch, or a hankering to continue the story.

Today, I put up a word counter here on the blog, on its blogspot page, over on the right.  Please check that now and then to see my word count.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

NaNoWriMo Has Concluded

Howdy, Friends!
This entry is going to serve triple duty.  It is an update to the Bodacious Creed Kickstarter page, and a new post to both my Bodacious Creed and From Idea to Art blogs.
NaNoWriMo has concluded!  Alas, I did not technically "win" this year.  The goal is to write 50,000 words of a novel over the course of November.  My word count came to 31,400.  Still, that's 31,400 words of Bodacious Creed written!
Why not the 50,000?  Well, November was an especially busy month for me.  I've been working to get my son into an after school day care, so that I can get a day job.  This will mean significantly more income, less having to seek out jobs, and more focused creative time.  I'm a single father, and son had the week of Thanksgiving off, from November 21 to 28.  We had a great week, but that also meant less time to write.
Now that he's back in school, I'll have more time to continue with the novel!  I will, of course, continue to keep everyone updated.
I guess the point here is that of the old adage that if you shoot for the starts, you may not reach them, but you may at least reach the moon.  I didn't hit the 50,000 word goal, but 31,400 in a month is something to be proud of.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Word Count Backtrack

Darn it, it's frustrating when something like this happens!

I finished Chapter 2 with an exciting development, which got me to 13,600 words for NaNoWriMo.  Then, over the next couple of days, I realized three things about it.

1. It was anticlimactic.
2. It was not quite the direction I wanted to take the story in, and might detract from the really big things coming up.
3. It didn't make sense for the person who did it to have done it.

I fixed it a bit yesterday, then a lot today.  The problem is, it cut down my word count!

For NaNoWriMo, sure, it's important that I write as much as I can.  But the story still needs to proceed correctly, or I'll end up back tracking.  I've done this a lot in the past, and it seems it's still a bit of an issue with me, even though I'm outlining beforehand.  However, I've gone back thousands of words before, so about 600 or so isn't bad!   I also saved the scene, in case it's something that can happen later.

Better get back to the writing now.  If you've read any of this blog, though, you know me.  There are certain things I just have to document!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Writing Has Begun!

NaNoWriMo Progress

As the second day of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, comes to a close, my word count for Bodacious Creed is now 3,796!

NaNoWriMo has some handy widgets, so folks can keep an eye on a participants word count as it goes up.  Keep in mind that the goal is to write 50,000 words over the course of November.  Based on the pacing of this novel, I suspect the full, finished book will be well over 50,000 words, but I'm aiming to get at least that much of it written this month.

The widget:

Apparently, this icons on this bad boy change throughout the day.

You can visit my NaNo page here.  Ten points to your Hogwarts house if you can tell me what my NaNo username, zombiejon, is from.\

As for the Plot

I've written out the plot for the first two acts of the novel, and I have notes for the third, and final, act.  I just wasn't able to get every bit of it plotted out before the start of NaNo.  However, there's a very good side to this.  As I write the first two acts, I'll get a very strong sense of the characters and the arc of the story.  By the time I get through writing the second act, I should have a clear vision for the final part of the book.  I can then adjust my end game accordingly.

The story is also, quite naturally, expanding as I write.  New scenes are already coming into existence.  New characters are populating the Creedverse's version of Santa Cruz, California, in 1876.  Some of the prostitutes at The House of Amber Doves, who were previously just names and are mostly background characters, are developing personalities.

And no, I'm not sure that I have my 19th century American history completely right, but this is an alternate world.  In the Creedverse, it was Tesla who invented the light bulb as a teen, not Edison. New batteries are charged with steam power in hot springs.  The luminiferous aether, a real scientific theory from the late 19th century about a substance that might fill space, actually exists, similarly to the way that neutrinos do, and while it doesn't normally interact with the matter and energy we're used to, someone has discovered how to create engines that use it as a power source.

So no, this is not your great great grandfather's Wild West, or world, though it is close.

Before I get too far off topic, I'll close this post for now.

To everyone participating in NaNoWriMo, have a productive November!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

2/3 Done Plotting

Howdy Everyone!
I'm more or less posting in here exactly what I just wrote in my latest backer update, over on the Bodacious Creed Kickstarter page.  That portion is in bold.  I'll share a bit more after.
Yesterday, my glasses broke.  One of the arms just fell off, the mechanism that allows it to connect to the front snapped.
I took them in to the optical department at Costco, where the young woman working there replaced them with a pair of arms that were a perfect fit, and happened to be by Ray Bay.  Free upgrade!

My Glasses, Upgraded 
My Glasses, Upgraded
What does this have to do with Bodacious Creed?  Well, it's pretty tough to conecentrate if my glasses are tilting and falling off because they're supported by only one arm.
It just so happens that my son and I bought some lunch while we were there.  I had brought a notebook today, so I wrote a list of things I need to do.  One of them was to finish plotting Bodacious Creed by the beginning of NaNoWriMo on November 1.
I got quite a bit closer while there!  I wrote out the basics for Part 2!  I'll be typing it up into Scrivener soon.  Then, I'll jot down what needs to take place in Part 3 (Act 3?), and write out the rest of the plot.  After that, it'll be time to fill in details and map everything out in Aeon Timeline.
This is so exciting.  The various characters I've thrown together are acting out quite a story in my head!  Everything is fitting together really well.  The backer created and named characters are, as I promised they would be, absolutely integral to the story, and Creed is proving to be the star I wanted him to be.
I believe this is, by far, the best story I've ever plotted.
My friend, Elle Clouse, talks about Scrivener and plotting her latest NaNoWriMo novel outline in her latest blog.  It's definitely worth a read!  She mentions me there as well.
I guess that's all for now, but there will certainly be more news soon!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Creed's Complications

I am having so much fun with this plot!

Believe it or not, with three novels under my belt, I did not pre-plot any of them.

Well, that's not totally true.  I had a good idea of what would happen in all three, and figured out the details on the way.  I had a vague outline for Children of Rhatlan.  I did the NaNoWriMo thing for the first draft, and this was pre-NaNo.  At that time, a few of my contemporaries were doing what they called "Novel Dares."  Yes, the dare was to write a novel in a month.  It took me about 40 days to write the first draft of CoR, but with about 50,000 words done in the first month, I would have been a NaNo winner... if NaNo had existed.  The draft had so many problems that I essentially used it as an outline, and rewrote the book from the beginning.

In Tamshi's Imp, there are a lot of twists.  I knew what was really going on from the beginning, and generally the direction the story was heading.  With Amber in the Over World, I don't remember what I did in terms of plot.  I had characters, a world, and a concept, and wrote.

So, Bodacious Creed is the first novel I'm doing an extended outline for before I sit down to write it.  This continues to be an amazing process.

For instance, I made an important setting change last Friday.  I realized that something big didn't make sense, so I thought about how it needed to be different, and took notes on it.  Then, I started going through the outline with this change in mind.  I made the necessary changes.  As I've been going through it--and I've been working more on it today--I started to think of things I hadn't considered.

The trick is to answer those questions and add new plot points wtihout totally derailing the story.  In other words, there are things that still need to happen for it to be the story I want to tell.  So, I need to make the new details fit into that context.

Todays are important details, too.  I now know how Creed was killed.  There's more conflict and drama happening in town than before.  There are several new characters, and some of the existing characters now have a richer backstory.

Time to get back to that outline.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Plotting Progress

Howdy Y'All!

This update, I would say, is long overdue.

Plotting on Bodacious Creed is going great!  I've done a lot of development on the main characters and setting, and have finished about a third of the plot outline.  I suspect it's going to be split into three parts, and Part 1 is finished.  It could end up being four.  We'll see.  It looks like Part 1 will basically be the origin story, with the rest covering some strange shit happening in Santa Cruz, California, in 1862, in the Creedverse.

See, I was born in and grew up in Santa Cruz, California, so it makes sense to me to set the story there.  I'll be doing research on what things were like at the time, but expect this alternate city to be thriving, whaver the real place was like at the time.  Alternate realities, especially those with a significant difference, like advanced steampunk technology, tend to be different in other major ways.  It's the butterfly effect, the idea that one thing changes everything.

On the Facebook fan page, a member recently posted that I shouldn't have zombie pigs.  Someone else said that I should have zombie cows, and I responded, essentially, "What use would anyone have for zombie pigs or cows?"  My uncle made the astute observation, "That calls into question how zombies are made in this world."  If you read through the basic information about the demo reel and the book though, you'll have a good idea about that.  So, while I certainly consider the undead in Bodacious Creed a breed of zombie, some with characteristics very close to your traditional shambling corpses, they are also their own thing.

So, what other news?  Plotting, check.  Characterization, check.  Setting development, which includes research and imagination, check.

Ah, yes.  It's important for me to finish up that developement by November 1 (making the official due date October 31... that's cool), so that I write the first draft for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)!  I already have a writing buddy, another author I've known for years, who has done the competition, and finished it, a bunch of times.  Six, I think she said.  If you are doing NaNoWriMo, too, send me a message!  I'd be happy to have more buddies for support.

Hopefully I'll be able to write at least half of the draft over that month.  If not, no worries, I'll get it done.  I currently make my living writing articles during the day.  I may even have another job by the start of NaNo, and I am a single dad.  I will, of course, make time for the novel.  I've even quit playing MMO's (I used to play WoW with a great group of friends) to make sure I have time for this, and my art.

Right, art!  I am a 3D modeler, after all, with an MFA in the stuff.  This field is pretty competitive, and was hit by the recession right around when I graduated in December, 2011.  While I think my demo reel is pretty good, I'm determined to keep making models and to keep improving my work.  Since I have Bodacious Creed on the brain, I'm making related 3D models.  Right now, I'm modeling one of the characters named by a high-level backer to the Kickstarter project.  Rather than use a male base mesh I had alread created, I made a new one from scratch, to brush up on the techniques.  I'm really happy with it.  I've started the sculpting, and plan to get it to a nice high level of detail.  I've decided not to texture these new models, at least, not right now, in order to really focus on the modeling.  They will have good UV maps, though, so that I can texture them when I like.

So, that's a lot of Creedverse stuff going on!

And with that written, time to get back to my article writing.  Getting paid is good.  And when the novel comes out next August, I hope everyone who enjoys it will share the news with others.  I would so love to make my writing money through my fiction!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Time for an Info Dump!

I know, in fiction, info dumps are not fun, and should be avoided!  This is a blog, though, not fiction, and I shall make this as brief as possible in one draft.

"Bodacious Creed: A Steampunk Zombie Western" was funded on Kickstarter on August 9!

While this is the first blog update in awhile, I have posted regular project updates at the Kickstarter link, so feel free to check those out.

I have been doing a lot of character development and plotting.  Today, I came up with some great plot, in fact, that I believe will make the story truly exciting.

I recently purchased Scrivener, a piece of truly amazing writing software recommend by another author.  It allows writers to keep track of plot points, characters, and research in the same overall file as the manuscript.  Once the piece of writing is complete, the author can compile the book in any major format, including Kindle.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming up in November, and it struck me that this would be a great time to start actually writing "Bodacious Creed."  That gives me about two months to do research, plot, world build, and round out my characters.  Then, on November 1, I can hit the ground running, with the support of other writers taking part in the event.  I can keep a word count counter on my website, and send out regular notices about how far along I am in the book.  With a first draft finished on or before November 30, I'll have months to rewrite, polish, and prepare "Bodacious Creed" for publication.

On the art side, I'll be creating new sculpted 3D models related to the story.  If I'm happy with them, I may render some as sketches and use them as illustrations in the finished book.

See, that wasn't such a bad info dump!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Bodacious Creed gets Blogger Attention

Bodacious Creed: A Steampunk Zombie Western was just covered on Leonardoverse, an excellent and popular steampunk blog!

I also posted a project update, which all project backers get in their email, and anyone can read on the Bodacious Creed Kickstarter page.

Here's the text of that update:

Howdy, my fellow travelers on this exciting journey into the world of Bodacious Creed!
"Bodacious Creed: A Steampunk Zombie Western" is currently featured on Leonardoverse, a popular and excellent steampunk blog by author Leonardo Ramirez.  Have a look, and also browse his blog!  Leonardo wrote a wonderful entry about my project, and I'm proud to have it featured there.
It has also been featured on many Facebook pages.  Have a look at the Bodacious Creed Facebook page for more information.
I've also been contacting newspapers and periodicals.  Yesterday, I sent press releases to a few Orange County papers, and one to Watsonville's Register Pajaronian.  I grew up on Watsonville, California, and, way back when, took Creative Writing at Watsonville High.  I hope they all pick up the story.
This message is getting a little long, so I'll end with this.  Thank you, all of my bakers, and everyone who has shared this project!  Thanks to you, we're at 21% funded already!  Please help keep the momentum going by sharing this on Facebook, and Twitter, and letting anyone who might be into a steampunk zombie western know that this exists.  Your support means the world to me!
Feel free to check the Kickstarter page often for updates.  Of course, if you pledge, even as little as $1, you will also get the updates in your email.
I'm also excited to report that the project has been live for not quite 3 days, is 21% funded, and has 14 backers. The video has been seen 112 times, and the most popular reward is the $10 level, from which backers get a digital copy of the book when it's published, a high resolution jpeg of the cover, and a pdf copy of my first novel, Children of Rhatlan, whether the project gets funded or not.  I've made sure that all the rewards are worthwhile, so have a look.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Bodacious Creed Kickstarter is Live!

Views for this blog have jumped up over the last few days, and I guess I shouldn't be surprised!

For those who don't know, and stumble upon this blog for whatever reason, I have launched a Kickstarter project for Bodacious Creed.  Back when I was creating the concept for my demo reel, in my Pre-Production class at Academy of Art University, I naturally thought that stories about Creed would be, well, bodacious.  I'm also a writer, after all, and the characters really got into my head.

Here I am, a year and a half after finishing my thesis and earning my MFA in Animation and Visual Effects, and Creed is still with me.  In part, that's due to the fact that I polished up the demo reel a few times.  Even if I hadn't done that, though, Creed and Boyd are two characters who won't let go of my imagination.

The Kickstarter project is called Bodacious Creed: A Steampunk Zombie Western. And yes, that link's clickable!  Please head over and check it out. The video is short and to the point, and the rewards for backers are pretty great, even at the $1 level.  I want everyone who pledges to feel connected to the project and to get something cool.

I was going to link the latest version of my demo reel here, which also features a train, but you can watch it if you scroll down on the Kickstarter page.

Oh, and here's an image that features prominently in the video.

So, please visit the project.  Become a backer if you want, or share it on social media, or just have fun checking it out.  It's been online for just over 24 hours, and is already 10% funded!  It's good to see that people are excited about this project as I am.