01

10/21

NaNoWriMo Planning

4:26 am by L. Jacob. Filed under: Inspiration,NaNoWriMo,Prince of Providence

All of a sudden, I have a hankering for LARPing. Ah, the nostalgia of my college years, when Vampire: The Masquerade was all the rage and Mind’s Eye Theatre had a foothold in Brown University. Instead of doing it, I collected the books and stayed on the fringes. Far be it for me to be of the same ilk as Brown kids.

I still have all of my White Wolf books, the V:TM core rule book. The Player’s Guide. Mage: The Ascension first edition. Vampire: Dark Ages. Changeling: The Dreaming, first edition. Werewolf: The Apocalypse, first edition. Somewhere is Wraith: The I Forget, but I can’t put my hands on it right now. I pulled down all these books and paged through them, remembering the good old days when I would create a character and…nothing.

I had in my head at the time a story which I now know would be considered fanfiction. The Giovanni vampires took over Rhode Island. An old Gangrel who had been Prince of Providence comes back to see how things are going. Providence is a mess, with Sabbat packs roaming the streets, crime up, everyone in the Giovanni’s back pocket, and all the Camarilla scattered “in hiding” around the state. (Now, RI is as big as some counties, so it’s not like they’re far away from each other.)

In 2005, I was on a tear for anything V:TM or Mage-related. I know this because there is a digital RPG site called DriveThruRPG that I downloaded a ton of source books and novels at that time. They’re still in my library, all the .pdf’s. So I downloaded them all and read most of them.

What if I wrote the story that was in my head from the 2000’s? Scenes and bits are still there in the recesses of the corkboard of my brain, ready to be used. Thus, Prince of Providence is in gestation.

I pulled out a 2-subject notebook (on clearance at BJ’s Warehouse, doncha know). The first section is characters. The second section is plot or brainstorm. No scenes yet, because if I write them out, I might as well start the darn book. And I can’t until November 1. Then I printed out sheets for each character.

Boy, was that a mistake.

I now have a pile of RPG character sheets, which, although good for keeping my characters in line, created a huge cast of characters that I probably won’t use half of them. There’s Camarilla and Sabbat and Mages and Lupines. For a week, I’ve been filling out RPG sheets, getting inklings of characters, sitting with each and every one, making notes on their idiosyncrasies. I didn’t bother doing “Merits and Flaws” because that’s shoehorning them into something more strict. But it’s like D&D: Charisma and Intelligence and Strength.

There is “Nature” and “Demeanor” that I find indispensable. Nature is what the character is on the inside; Demeanor is how the character presents themselves to the world. This is how I plan on keeping the characters straight. “Concept” helps too. That’s what the character is supposed to emulate. For instance, the main character, Ragest, has a concept of “Adventurer”. Then there’s details: skills, abilities, and knowledge.

My plan is to “play the game” while writing. If I get stuck, I’ll roll the 10-sided dice. Example: Ragest has to figure out how to get into a laptop. He has one “Computer” related die, and four “Intelligence” die. I roll them versus a difficulty of 8 (6 is average, but because he’s not a computer guy, I increased the difficulty). If he gets three out of five successes, he wins. If not, it’s a loss, and he’s got to hand the laptop to someone else with better computer skills. If they all fail, it’s a “botch” and he broke the computer.

What this will do is cause me to do twists and turns that I normally wouldn’t do. It’s totally random and unpredictable.

This is gonna be fun.

03

12/19

NaNo, lost.

7:50 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Characters,Inspiration,NaNoWriMo,Writing

By week three, I had lost all interest in The Band Singer, mostly because I was exhausted. On Thanksgiving week, I had planned to wrap it up at least. I couldn’t even get the gumption to go online to a Google Hangout Virtual Write-In. I was in my big comfy chair or in bed most of the weekend, dozing on and off.

Heck, I didn’t even do the podcast. Next week, promise.

Now I’m ready to put that novel aside and start something new. But what? And this time I’m going to plan it out a little more, but not the end. That’s what killed it for me last time. Seeing the end on-screen, even if it was just a blurb, solidified it for me, saying “You’ve written the story.”

I’m going to wait to see where my next idea shows up from. I want to branch out from the Urban Fantasy/Magical Detective genre. But I love mysteries, going way back (Scooby-Doo, anyone?). Though it’s something I like to read, I want to put a different spin on it. I’ve read some real trash in the Urban Fantasy field recently, so I know what I don’t like.

Maybe another Grim story?

24

11/19

NaNo, Week Blah

7:07 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: NaNoWriMo

24,000 words of blech. Note to Self: don’t write the end first. That’s the main reason I’m bored with this story–I not only know the end, but I wrote it out already.

I’ve gotten the action, and now I need to do the build-up to make the character famous. But it’s so unrealistic how I’m going to do it, and there’s so much time between when that happens and where I’m at, that I don’t know what to do. I’m tempted to just jump to the sections that I know will happen, even if they’re days, weeks, months ahead in the timeline for the story. If I do that, the story will be much less than 50K words. However, also, if I do that, it will at least be finished.

Not to mention that dialysis is a bear and I sleep for almost 12 hours a night because of it.

Next weekend I’m being held accountable by doing writing for NaNo at a virtual write-in. I’ll be there about 8 pm Eastern (past my bedtime) on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

11

11/19

NaNo, week 2

2:18 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Dark Mystic Quill,NaNoWriMo,Writing

I’m up to 21K words on this horrible novel that I’m going to trash when I’m done. I worked on it all weekend and half the day today so I could take tomorrow off on it, since it’s a dialysis day and I’m usually a wreck on Tuesdays.

I did a podcast if you want to listen to it.

A part of me is wondering why I’m even bothering with this novel if I’m not going to do anything with it. I might do something with the characters in the future but the story itself is stupid as hell. That’s what I get for pantsing the thing.

So far, I have one explosion, and now I’m writing the aftermath of it. Just to get words, I’m describing EVERYTHING in detail. It’s like reading a Victorian novel. Problem is, I’m listening to AC/DC while writing, and the music wants action. So I have to switch to Steve Winwood on loop as white noise. Otherwise I will put myself to sleep with my own writing. (And that’s pretty bad.)

27

10/19

Almost there!

8:38 am by L. Jacob. Filed under: Dark Mystic Quill,NaNoWriMo,Reading,Review,War Mage

The good thing about dialysis is I have time to read books. I broke down and got Kindle Unlimited, so I could get some fiction books for “free” ($9.99/month). I also purchased a few Kindle editions of books that are best sellers or recent sellers. I downloaded a few novel-writing workbooks, too, that I’m working with in my journal.

So far, I have a few scenes for NaNoWriMo’s story. I need subplots. I’m making up this entire thing. It’s not going to be an accurate representation of Latino life, and I’m not appropriating that culture for this. This story is mine and mine alone, and is never going to get published because I’m not backing it up with facts. You know me, I research things to death before writing anything, which is why War Mage took me so long to write. I finally threw my hands up and just said, “Forget it,” and wrote War Mage just to finish the story.

I found the original story in one of my notebooks, and I’m kicking myself for not sticking with that original story. It would have been better, I think.

I read most of a book called Shadow Company by Michael Hesse. So far I’m the only reviewer on Goodreads for him. I gave him four stars for military accuracy and interesting story world, but the character had been through too much by the time I got almost half-way done with it, that I didn’t want to bother anymore. I didn’t realize that it was a 500 page novel, either.

Shadow Company has a bit of “The Chosen One” trope, which I have outgrown since reading the Dragonlance series and attempting (every few years) to read the entire Lord of the Rings series. But I would suggest you read it if you like military fantasy like I do.

I plan on doing a podcast today in anticipation of NaNo, and hope to do podcasts every week updating people on my progress. I’m tempted to write the story upstairs on my Mac, without any distractions other than some music and tarot cards for jumping off points.

22

10/19

NaNoWriMo Prep

3:15 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: NaNoWriMo

At first, I wasn’t going to do NaNo because of my work/dialysis schedule. Now that I have some time available for recuperation, I could probably do NaNo.

I’m not going to force myself to get to the 50K mark. I’m not even doing any research for it this time around. I’m going to write, without any purpose. It’ll be full of cliche’s and stereotypes, probably be a total insult to my subject matter, and I’m making the whole thing up. It’s not even going to be based in real life, but it’ll be a fantasy of mine.

Of course there’s going to be a dark part of it, which is what I’m hanging the story on. Because it can’t all be unicorns and rainbows.

06

10/19

Memoir

3:40 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Ova,Reading

I bit the bullet and sent my memoir, Torn Asunder, to my publisher to have him take a look at it. Right now he’s in the throes of publishing Corporate Catharsis, an anthology that I wrote a story for entitled “Hextron, Inc.” so I’m not expecting a response to it within the next couple of months. Catharsis comes out November 1, and that’s also the start of National Novel Writing Month, when the publishing company shuts down so we can all concentrate on writing.

I don’t think I’m going to work on it this year, especially with my time constraints. I know for certain I won’t be able to make the minimum daily requirements. But the other thing is I don’t have a freaking clue what to write.

Ova has turned into a real shitshow. The problem is I’ve written the story once, I liked it, but it got taken out with The Purge of my house I did in March. I don’t want to sit here and retell a story I’ve already told myself. That’s not how I write. I’m a pure discovery writer. I plot the beginning and the end, and how we get to the end is totally left up to the Muse. I’m just along for the ride.

Ova might be interesting to others, but I can’t seem to get myself into it. So instead of excuses, I’m just going to dump it and consider it lost.

While cleaning out my filing cabinet, I found my old floppy disks (the 3 1/2″, not 5 1/4″ ones) with Hunter’s Realm on them. I do have Hunter’s Realm on my TB drive, and I liked how that one came out. I loved Luther so much – he was a real Mary Sue, though. I should read through it and see if it’s viable. As a YA story, I think it is, because I wrote it when I was in college.

NaNoWriMo requires a new story, though, so that’s where I’m stuck. I have so much going on…what story could I do? And what time do I have to do it?

I’m beta-reading a story for someone, and while I’m reading it, I’m thinking, “I can do better than this with my eyes closed.” I’m catching small things that are really good, and glaring errors. An example stuck in my head is using the word “junkyard” in a fantasy world with elves and dwarves. It brings to mind rusting cars. Maybe “scattered about like a pile of junk.” Or, my favorite word of the year, detritus.

Should I yank out my old D&D books?

25

11/18

OH NO! Not enough story!

11:41 am by L. Jacob. Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Promotion,Yellowtree

I finished Yellowtree this morning, this first draft clocking in at 40,314 words. There are a few spots that I could repeat, and a few threads that I totally dropped.  One book I’m reading now has repeated the main character’s main feelings four times within a hundred pages, so I know what not to do. 

The threads I dropped, I’ll pick up again right now, to try and fill the 10K words. However, because I dropped them, they must be unnecessary so I’ll take them out on the second pass. Watch me end up with a 30K word book by the end.

I discovered that my main character also has feelings, unlike Mike. This is so hard for me to write. Not because I have no feelings, but because I love anti-heroes and most of my stories consist of anti-heroes. To have a main character feel bad about killing another person, even in self-defense, is something that I’m not used to. (I’m not a sociopath, at least according to my last psych eval…:-)

I may just end up doing a secondary story running parallel to this one, something to do with Claudette. I want to explore her more, make her more than the crazy old lady in the falling-down mansion a’la Charles Dickens. And I definitely wanted to bring in Nash more, but I couldn’t find a place for him due to time constraints. Owen is a dropped thread, a Chekov’s gun that was never used. And all of a sudden, at the beginning of the end, the main character Kevin starts to burn bridges. What the hell was that all about?

Today I have to make notes on the time period, days that things are taking place. I also have to pack for the RI Author Expo for next Saturday. I’m not expecting to do a lot of sales there because it’s going to be so overwhelming. I will probably not do it next year, depending on how this year ends up. Last year a thousand people came through. This year, we’ll see.

18

11/18

NaNo Update

11:16 am by L. Jacob. Filed under: NaNoWriMo,Yellowtree

Yellowtree may not be called Yellowtree anymore, but The Walker, not sure yet. I don’t like The Walker because it makes it sound like much darker fantasy. 

I’m up to 29K words as of this writing, thinking, “It’s all downhill from here.” Problem is, I’ve gotten to a plot point and I’m afraid of plowing through it too fast and ending the story that quickly. I know what I have to do. The scenes are in my head. It’s just that I need to  slow down and get the other bits and pieces put in.

I can’t keep bringing up Lady Air’s abilities as needed. I need to foreshadow, but that looks like I’ll be doing it on the rewrite.

Well, back to work.

05

11/18

Welcome!

2:10 pm by L. Jacob. Filed under: Grimaulkin,NaNoWriMo,Promotion,War Mage,Writing,Yellowtree

Hello! Welcome new people that I may have met at RI ComiCon; or if not, just welcome anyway.

I am L.A. Jacob, and I’ve been writing for about 30 (mumble-mumble) years. Homecoming was my first published novel, in June 2015. I’ve since published the Grimaulkin series and a quick sequel to Homecoming, War Mage.

My plans next year is for an anthology for Grimaulkin which will be the backstory of some of the characters in the novel, including how Grimalkin appeared, who Ritter is, what Chevalier is, and how the man in the gray suit ended up at the Atheneum Library.

Also, I hope the new book I’m writing for this month’s National Novel Writing Month, Yellowtree, will be good enough for publishing some time next year. It was going to take place in Florida, but I noticed there was a real interest in local areas, so I’m going to set it in Jamestown, RI and go from there.

Speaking of RI ComiCon, I’d like to give a huge THANK YOU to everyone who purchased books and stopped by my booth in the Dunk. I went over and above my target; in fact, I ran out of stock on Saturday! Thank you, thank you, for stopping by. Next year, we may do it again – with more and bigger and better stories available for your consumption!

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