Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Camp NaNoWriMo reflections of a creative challenge: On day 20, I completed the challenge

Winner 2018 - Facebook Cover

The Camp NaNoWriMo program spans the thirty days of April. Camp resumes in the month of June too. And of course, these are extensions of the original NaNoWriMo which takes place in November. There are thirty days in each month.

I absolutely love this creative challenge. I think the organization is well developed, helpful and the mission to get people to write is worthy and I wish more people joined up. I do not believe in all nonprofit organizations. I do not freely give money or time to many nonprofits either. NaNoWriMo, however, I believe in fully, and whereas I do not have any time to donate to the organization, I did donate money each time I've participated. I think every writer who participates, it's a good idea to give a little back.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Camp NaNoWriMo reflections of a creative challenge: Admiral Fish and the Rainy Day Parade the hook and excerpt

With six drink abandon the residents of Riverside enjoy the last days of humanity.

Akana lived alone at the top of Water Street, right across the street from where the forest had taken over the northerly part of town. Occasionally, and for one reason only, Akana walked over the chipped sidewalks and through the undergrowth to see what he might see.

What he might see, as anyone who walks through these places knows, is nothing. There is nothing there. There are old houses which have been pilfered long ago for anything that may be of any value. Anything that could be removed like stoves, or stained glass or wiring or pipes had made its way to Admiral Fish's place long long ago. Anything that was useful or pretty like a pan or plate or wall hanging had been distributed all over the remain houses at the bottom of the peninsula.

The old parts of town do not hold secrets and they do not hold curiosities. They do not hold dangers.

These old places are places that the forest has reacquired, because these places were on loan from the forest to begin with. These places only hold shadows, and no questions. There are birds and small forest creatures inhabiting the quiet nooks now. Only very occasionally would Akana find it worth the trek into the forest. These were only times when the summer weather grew warm enough to seek out shade. These times have happened less and less over the years. And from his house, Akana can see the forest, the slow moving creature filled with millions of little parts, consuming the world.

Unlike most of his neighbors, Akana did not keep much in his house. He did not choose to live alone, and at various points he has had others living with him. But now, after Weird Howard, there has not been cause or reason to have a roommate.

Most of the houses are opulent now, furnished with the finest things. Akana, however, chose to keep little in the way of furnishings or personal affects. This was not a design, not one that had been conscious. It happened gradually. It happened because of a book he had read. The book had suggested that those with big castellated homes filled with things will rarely get out into the community and meet neighbors or have any close or lasting relationships.

Despite best efforts, Akana did not have many close friendships. He had a few folks who would gladly share a meal with him, but no one wanted to linger on in his house afterward. He avoided the larger pow-wows. Only the annual Cider Fest captured his imagination. And that was only probably due to the six drink abandon which happened at the same time.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Camp NaNoWriMo reflections of a creative challenge: Admiral Fish and the Rainy Day Parade

Once I started to write, I do my best to tell a story and think of nothing else. It's one of those things, in this world of constant distraction and outlandish claims most people make about multitasking, when I work, I do nothing else but work. I do not let the outside world bother me. I do not open tons of windows on the computer, I do not have my phone near by. I'll listen to music, and even that I have at a low, low volume. And to take it one step further, I do not let my mind get in the way. I can easily shut the noise of life off while I work.

Admiral Fish, as a character, became a large personage but ultimately a minor player in the book which bears his name. I tried to avoid making him a charlatan, or the wise man of the village. Ultimately, what I was trying to play with in the story was this: all the silly, outlandish or downright stupid conspiracy theories and what-ifs rolled into one narrative. And I thought Admiral Fish could be that old man crackpot we all know (and if you don't know him, then he's you) and place him at the epicenter of the end of days.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Camp NaNoWriMo reflections of a creative challenge: My Prep

I did even less prep for this novel than I did for the last two. I had a few characters, a few conflicts and a beginning and an end. I let the characters moved through the middle as they would.

I drew maps of my town, Riverside. I had streets and the river and the place looked pretty much the way Astoria, Oregon looked in my memory. I did not look at a map of Astoria for fear that it would be too impossible to recreate the place for a novel which takes place in the near future after the AI soldiers have taken over the world.

In my town there was no electricity or electronic gadgets. There were apples trees that made cider and later apple brandy. I had to make these poor characters drink, become drunk or become hungover every time I came to a stand still. If there is anything to that advice: write what you know, it is that I know how to be drunk and hungover.

The whole point of my story was that there were only the people of Riverside left, the whole rest of humanity was already gone before the onset of my book. The people of Riverside were living of borrowed time. They had an electromagnetic pulse emitter running on an atomic battery that kept the AI soldiers away. In the story, the battery is failing and the end is near.

I also wanted my characters to treat the end of days with grace, compassion and booze.

As with the first creative challenge last November, I planned my writing hours, stuck to them, and stayed very focused.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

Camp NaNoWriMo reflections of a creative challenge: What I did and what I did it for

I figured April is as good a month as any to write a novel. I mean, why not, right? I also knew that the Camp NaNoWriMo was coming in April. I had had a good experience with the November program, I thought I'd give it another go.

There were a couple of things I had to think about as April approached. I suppose the first was that I needed a project to work on, and the second, simply, I had to complete the project I had been working on before April began.

About a month lapsed between the completion of The Second Door which was my November NaNoWriMo project and when I begun Wabi Sabi. Admittedly, it took a lot longer for me to write Wabi Sabi than I would care to think about. But as that manuscript was winding down, I started to think about the next novel.