26 Nov 2012

I See the Light!

November 30 is looming for us NaNo participants.  Fifty thousand words.  A huge number.  Even its size changes depending on the type of day we have.  At the beginning, it's a challenge, something to chip away, a safe distance away.  A week in, and it's formidable, a wall that stretches to the sky.  Halfway, fifty thousand is out of sight, impossible to reach.

Now?  It's the finish line.  The light at the end of the tunnel.  The bottom of the slope.  Whatever was the worry about?

I broke through the 40k barrier over the weekend.  Seeing the number of words drop to four digits is a thing of beauty.  The countdown is entering its final phase.  There is little that can stop me now.  As long as I have story to write, I will be winning.

I hope to validate Tuesday evening.  That's just 5000 words away as I write this.  In the past week, I've averaged over 2500 words a day.  I've seen my mid-week counts rise to 2500-3000 words where in previous years I considered myself lucky to get to 2000.

I will cross the finish line.

22 Nov 2012


Last night's D&D Encounters went well.  Far more combat than previous sessions, definitely.  My PC, an eladrin nethermancer with drow issues, managed to participate in them, too.  The mix of characters did show how brutal a party of strikers can be in D&D 4th.  We had an oversized table due to a lack of DMs.  My table had a drow assassin, a pixie vampire, a dwarf hunter, a half-orc berserker, a dwarf slayer, and my nethermancer.  In game terms, that's three and a half strikers (berserkers are part defenders, part striker, depending on temperament), half a defender, and two controllers.  Our opponents couldn't stay on their feet, thanks to the dwarf hunter, and then were pummeled into a thin paste, thanks to the strikers.  To give you an idea of how dangerous a party like this is, ask the cave fishers (underground oversized crayfish with a taste for adventurers).  They started on the ceiling, attacking from above.  One died from bloodloss caused by axes and swords.  The other, well, pummeled by a pixie, then dropped from the ceiling by the hunter.

The big bad of the night turned out to be a drow wraith.  Undead are usually vulnerable to radiant, yet we had no one who had radiant attacks.  Well, almost no one.  My nethermancer had an at-will that takes on the damage type of the target's vulnerability.  But, I had something I wished to try first.  My eladrin has a neat cantrip, Disrupt Undead, that reduces the target's necrotic resistance, something undead have an abundance of.  So, hit it that.  Hit it with a nethermancy spell, and whiffed, though the effect went off.  Used an action and whiffed with the other spell with necrotic damage, though it's effect also went off.  Argh!  But, I ended the fight.  I used the Unravelling Dart spell with its variable damage type.  Minimal damage, but strikers still do a lot of damage, even when halved due to insubstantialness.  Just a frustrating first round with the two misses.

Next week, back to the dwarven kingdom with the unicorn horn.

The Final Stretch

My last NaNo post was all about how far behind I was in updating and NaNo'ing.  This time, I have better news.  I'm still behind, but not that far.  Two days, before starting to write.  I've been pushing to get over 2500 words a night when I do write.  (Gaming causes slower days.)  This past Tuesday, I was caught up.  So, yeah, I can get to the 50k goal, easily.

Storywise, it's a slow pace.  One time skip, though planned, some action.  Far too much dialogue, really.  The story seems to want to be in a episodic format, not a novel.  Chances are, the story will be abandoned as a novel once I pass the 50k goal.  However, I could turn it into something else, with the work this month being treated as backstory and initial testing.  It's not a loss.

Characters are going in the right direction.  Darcy is definitely turning into the beleaguered leader, having to deal with the likes of Tori and Renée.  Dominique is becoming Beaver Flight's "mom", handling the emotional wreckage.  The aliens have appeared, though their motive is still hidden from the characters.  Renée is having some problem - she doesn't quite fit.  Where am I going from here?  One reveal coming up.  Another later down the line.  Some internal bickering, this time between flights.  The Russian flight leader has some issues to deal with.

And more giant robot combat!

21 Nov 2012

A little ditty...

During a discussion at tonight's D&D Encounters of what the creepy crawly in the cave was, the following came to mind:

In the tundra, the frozen tundra,
The ice worm sleeps tonight.
In the tundra, the cold, cold tundra,
The ice worm sleeps tonight.

A Rhemoraz, a Rhemoraz, a Rhemoraz, a Rhemoraz,
A Rhemoraz, a Rhemoraz, a Rhemoraz, a Rhemoraz.

16 Nov 2012

Catching Up

As you can see, I've fallen behind in updating. There's a reason.

I fell behind in NaNo'ing.

I didn't mean to. In fact, I didn't even want to fall behind. It's a tough slog trying to catch up. But, well, Days 8, 9, and 11 saw me spend most of my free time in bed. You see, I got sick. I wound up not being able to get out social activities, and one goal I have with NaNo is to do it without major sacrifices in socializing. I don't socialize much, and less of it is bad.

However, last weekend was just horrid* for me. I could barely stay awake. My throat felt like evil dwarves were sandblasting a hole through it. And, Sunday, I was up for a grand total of four hours at most, and definitely not continuous. Hard to type when LARPing a corpse. Even my cats were concerned. It takes a lot to get a cat to worry.

So, since the weekend, I've been working like mad to catch up. I had my best ever mid-week day of typing at over 3000 words in my history of NaNoveling. I can see the halfway point. Which is good, because I took the 15th off from writing, too. I know, I know, why stop when I could have been within striking distance of being back on pace?

The Ottawa NaNo group had a mid-way party. :D On top, CKCU's Kate Hunt was looking for people participating in NaNoWriMo for her show, Literary Landscape, and I volunteered to be in the studio while one of Ottawa's fearless Municipal Liaisons called in from the party. I figured it was chance too good to pass up. How often would I get to be in a radio studio? I'm catching up to my nephew** there. And then I went to the party. A good time was had, talking about novelling, Star Wars, Star Trek, Airplane, and other geeky endeavors. I feel I had a good excuse for not writing yesterday.

Where do I stand? Right now, I'm a little above 22 000 words, with Friday's needing 28 333 words to remain on track. I'll get a few more words in tonight, but not a full day's worth. This weekend, I hope to get at least 5000 words and get to at least one write-in. This will, ideally, bring me to within a day's worth of writing of being on pace, with Monday getting a major push to catch up. Not where I had expected to be, but not far behind, either.

* Yes, I use words like this. I read too much Enid Blyton as a younger me.
** Twelve years old and he's been to CKCU's radio camp to put together a show.

6 Nov 2012

NaNo Update, Day 6 – And I’m Off!

Those following me elsewhere have seen that I’ve reached over 8700 words at the end of Day 5, slightly ahead of pace despite two days of low productivity.  I’ve discovered a few things about Beaver Flight (story name or possibly series name at this point; wars shouldn’t last one book).

First, the supporting cast.  I’m slowly populating Darkside One, the lunar base that will be home to the Flight.  I still haven’t figured out who the commander is or if it’s a joint command (American-Russian).  I am trying to keep in mind that, if the story is ever adapted, some characters may become composites to save on casting.  However, at the same time, the option now exists that if an actor isn’t available for a role, a different character can be swapped in.  Major Joan di Carlo, whose name is handy for word count purposes, is turning out to be a key supporting character, providing a sounding board for Darcy (Beaver Flight’s commander) and being the voice of authority.  A Russian survivor, Yulya Emelin, came back as another supporting character; hooray for conservation of name space!  I have one more key supporting role, a Russian captain who is the base’s chief engineer, who needs to be named.  With the exception of random pilots met in the corridors and mess hall of the base, few other characters will be needed.

Second, names.  I’m using some short cuts for now, but I prefer to use an actual name instead of a placeholder.  For Russian surnames, I can always go to a NHL team’s lineup and choose a name from there.  In fact, Yulya’s surname came from a Montreal Canadiens player.  My main cast has last names now, which is good.  Darcy is only using their last names when addressing them.  Meanwhile, the others have worked out nicknames where possible (Tori, Dom).  Call signs are also in use – no giving away ranks over an unencrypted comm channel.  Darcy’s callsign is “McGee”, after the Prime Minister.  Victoria is getting called “Geek”, because she is one.  Dominique is getting her old on-court basketball nickname, “Dominatrix”.  (Yeah, the innuendo wasn’t supposed to exist in the story, because of the title.)  Renée… needs a call sign still.  I think her personality needs to develop a little more before I can properly give her one.  I’ve dismissed “Shrieker” for her, mainly because I want the innuendo gone, but have it on reserve for either an American or Australian pilot.

Third, details.  Little things are starting to pop up.  What do the staff of Darkside One eat?  How does it get there?  Where does the water come from?  How are patrols scheduled?  Do the various nations’ pilots fly together or only with their own countrywomen?  Did I end a sentence with a proposition back there?  What brand names are around?  How is the air recycled and refreshed?  The International Space Station (ISS) gets regular supply runs from Earth.  Darkside One, though is out of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and is, as the name implies, on the dark side of the moon.  What I’m picturing is a lot of food gets delivered either in powdered form or as basic proteins that are then run through a 3D food printer.  Of course, this means a shipment of real fruits and vegetables would be a huge cause for celebration, especially by the teams that were on the base from the beginning.  However, I have made the coffee there not the greatest, with tea being the preferred drink.

Lastly, the nations involved.  So far, I’ve introduced American, Russian, and Indian crew.  There are Australians (Kangaroo Flight), but none have popped up yet.  That needs to be changed.  Japan is providing the power suits (hey, mecha!), and I’m fairly sure that the UK, France, and Germany (among many others) are assisting in their own way.  However, China…  The story is about 100 years from now.  I’m being generous in assuming some of the countries involved (Russia, the US) will still be around.  China is one of the countries whose structure I don’t see as being stable after another generation.  At the same time, there are outside interests that need a unified China; most of them don’t want a civil war upsetting factories.  And that brings me to corporate involvement.  I’m trying to picture current companies that would still be around in a hundred years.  Off the top of my head, IBM.  Big Blue has adapted before and will adapt again, usually surprising people.  Beyond that, it’s hard to tell.  There are no hundred year old computer companies because the industry isn’t that old.  Puegeot, Skoda, Mercedes, Buick (GM) and Ford are the only car brands over 100 years old today.  Older companies are financial.  So, yeah, work to do there.

And that’s where I stand near the end of the first week.  Plot is starting to pick up, with the first time Beaver Flight meets the invaders coming up soon.  I’ll also need Darcy to loosen up a little with her team, at least off-duty, and get Renee to stop being easily annoyed.

3 Nov 2012

NaNo Excerpt

May I present part of the first chapter of "Beaver Flight"?

Chapter 1 – Arrival
May 17, 2128

The lunar lander touched down on Darkside One's landing pad. Darcy unbuckled herself from the acceleration couch. "Okay, ladies," she barked, "we will make sure our helmets are secure. We will then leave the lander and march to the airlock."

"Yes, Mom," Victoria called.

"Try not to trip up." Darcy looked directly at Victoria. "We want to make a good first impression here."

"Ma'am, what about our luggage?" Renée asked, her Montrealais accent lacing her words.

"I'll deal with that once I get you inside." Darcy turned her attention to Dominque. "Do you have a question or smart comment?"

"No, ma'am." Dominique shook her head. "I'll just be happy to stretch my legs. It's a little cramped in here."

Darcy smiled in sympathy. "These were never designed for tall people. I'll go out first to help you there. Lalonde, can you assist Pearson in here?"

Renée nodded, sending her dark red hair bouncing in the lower gravity. "Not a problem, ma'am."

"Thanks. And Grieg?"

Victoria looked up from her datapad. "Yes?"

"Don't break anything." Darcy put on her helmet and checked its seals. She gave the thumbs up to the others.

Victoria stuck her tongue out at Darcy as she affixed her helmet. She then helped Dominique with her shoulder length blonde hair as the taller woman sealed her helmet. Renée gave a thumbs up once her helmet clicked into place. Darcy's voice crackled over the suits' radio. "Okay, we're set."