Category Archives: Writing

Dirk Derringer And The Hartufan Plot

+Matt Jackson has quite the writing talent and is generating a Science Fiction pulp serial, with an obvious White Star influence. He is publishing it both on his blog and a site called Wattpad.

I am honored that my encouragement to write more has helped him to come up with more ideas.

My recommendation is to go read this serial!

He can write and make cool maps!

One Page Dungeon Contest – 2015

Last year about this time, I wrote about the 2014 One Page Dungeon Contest, and thought about an entry, but none of my ideas would gel.

I am thinking about the 2015 OPDC with just over two months until the deadline. It is a single page, what’s the big deal, right?

Well a single page requires the most bang for the buck so to speak. One needs a density of information without a density of facts. A hook that evokes ideas, and a map that gives what words cannot. I have a small degree of artistic talent, but it is not a honed or practiced talent, so my efforts are hit and miss.

A one page dungeon also screams for brevity with a conciseness that cuts to the point immediately. As is evident from many of my blog posts, I am skilled at the WALL OF TEXT. It takes effort for me to distill things to the bare essentials.

I could make a submission that is merely an entry, but I want to make a memorable entry that is a contender. Heck, who am I kidding? I want to win!

So I know I need an idea that is just novel enough and easy to convey/explain in a single page. I have some faint wisps of ideas that if I can bring them to fruition and execute them as well as I imagine them, then I have a shot.

Between now and then are my goals of the 2015 A to Z Blogging Challenge and a daily article on this blog between now and April 1st, and other game activities. Plus the Tenkar’s Landing Crowdsourced Sandbox Setting is now ramping up to work on the actual town of Tenkar’s Landing. I need to do my part with an idea or two.

Again Alliterative Acronyms

Adventurous Adventurers Adventuring

Belated Blathering Blogger

Caverns of Cavernous Creepy Canyons

Devious Devils Defenestrate

Eerie Echoes Enervate

Fiery Fiends Flatulate

Grumpy Giants Girate

Hairy Hermits Harass Haughty Heroes

Island of Irate Isolated Islanders

Here’s one I found mixed in my DM notes ( I don’t have any notes indicating if there was supposed to be more.):

Livid lizards licking livers

While wild wombats wobble

And arthritic antelope anticipate.

2014/2015

I write this at just under an hour until midnight in the Eastern time zone, her in Southwest Michigan.

2014 was a great year for RPGs and me.

I went to my first Con in thirty years or so at Marmalade Dog in Kalamazoo, and I did nearly daily posting and many days multiple posting for over half the year. There was a great start to blogging with the D&D 40th anniversary in January, and the April A t0 Z challenge.

I got involved in a weekly online AD&D game every Wednesday in March and it is still going, only the DM and three players with two characters are left from the initial group, we have added replacement players and look to add a couple more when we resume play after a two week break for Christmas and New Year’s. I have only missed a couple hours of one session and family interruptions for a few others.

I finally made it to GenCon for the first time, something I had wanted to do since the 1980’s when it was still in Lake Geneva. GenCon is too big and requires much more planning. In November, I participated in UCon and had a great time. UCon is much smaller, but has enough for everyone. I would like to do GenCon again, but don’t know if it will be in 2015. I will be at UCon and plan to stay in the hotel so I don’t have to chance driving on ice and snow for a couple hours or more to get there and back. There was AetherCon and another online Con the same weekend as UCon. If AetherCon is not the same weekend as UCon, I may participate in 2015.

A personal milestone, I finally re-built my original collection of AD&D manuals when the same day I ordered a Dieties & Demigods from Wayne’s Books, my son presented me the same volume as a belated birthday present. I also had several weeks in a row where I DM’d for my oldest son and his girlfriend and built up my long designed and little played campaign world.

I also participated in several Kickstarters. So far, I am not disappointed in the ones that funded, other than the D&D movie on hold due to litigation. Follow ups are planned for the ones yet to deliver in 2015.

I also jumped in to take part in the Tenkar’s Landing OSR design project, for which I need to wrap up my hex. I had planned to have my part done before today, but life happens. Thankfully, the milestone was moved to the end of January.

The triumph of over 60,000 words towards the first draft of the novel for which I had the idea back in college in 1984 or 1985 was sweet. I finally got my winner’s shirt this past week. I still have the last few chapters to do. Since Thanksgiving, things have been hectic at home and work. A complete first draft was my goal by now, so one more thing I didn’t think would bet delayed.

Last week, I volunteered to run one slot each day at the 2015 Marmalade Dog in Kalamazoo with The Village of Hommlet. Hommlet is one of the two modules I own, however, I have never ran it. I bought it for an example of a low level started adventure. I bought the PDF from DriveThruRPG so I can read it on my tablet on lunch breaks at work. I think I will have to recruit some people for a play test.

I support payroll and accounting software, so December and January are my busiest time of year at work. Every client calls at least once trying to either do the year end procedures or process their W-2s. It leaves me little time to sneak a moment to think about something else while at the office.

January also sees my youngest son, who lives out of state with his mother, turn 18; and my oldest son and his girlfriend expect a baby any day, making me a grandfather.

I turned 50 at the end of September, wow, where did the time go!

I did make it to Las Vegas in December, for the first time. I had a lot of people incredulous at the idea of me never going there before. I don’t know why that is so hard to believe, most of the world has never been there. I did try my luck with the one-armed bandit and roulette, and lost, but only the amount I set aside, so that I could say I did it. I bought two dice that say, “Fabulous Las Vegas.” After I got home, I realized I should have bought more, as you need at least three to roll up a character. the shop in the hotel where I bought them sold them for a pair for something like $1.99, so I should have bought another pair. Oh well, something for my list if I am every back in Vegas.

2014 was a good year over all and a great one for me in the realm of RPGs. I look forward to reading the musings of others, more playing, more DMing, and building more friendships with fellow gamers both online and in person.

The only way 2014 would have been better would be to have a woman in my life, but I want it to be the right woman, so maybe I’ll find her in 2015.

Happy New Year and Game On!

NaNoWriMo 2014 Winner!

50,123 words for NaNoWriMo.

I have made the goal of writing 50,000 words in November. Now I just need to wrap this thing up.

50,000 words is not as difficult to achieve as it sounds. Getting to the point that there is an interesting story that others will want to read and enjoy it, that is the trick.

Now to get this story moving to a conclusion….

I hope to have a complete first draft by the end of the month.

#NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo 2014 Update

I tried NaNoWriMo in 2010 and didn’t get past the second day, I did 3,133 word. Things came up that soon derailed my efforts.

My novel idea is one I have had since college, just a few years ago (ahem!), and ideas and things keep coming to mind. I would see articles online, and email them to myself to add to my Novel label in Gmail.

I did figure out how to make the story “work” in 2010 with a central theme it all hangs on. This year, I am picking up the torch and trying to finish this thing. It’s a fantasy/science fiction story.

I am ahead and can’t believe I’ve passed 22,000 words of new stuff, and I didn’t write for a couple days. I have another commitment on Wednesdays – the weekly G+/Roll20 game I play in, so I have at least one day off from writing each week. I write a chapter at a time. I just figure out what the goal/idea is for the chapter and start writing, but picking up where the last chapter left off. I am amazed at the way the ideas are coming together. Most of it is like a detailed outline with more action and little dialogue. I am disciplining myself and not correcting every little error as I type. I only correct words that I need to be right to make sense when I come back to it. I make a tentative chapter title to describe the goal/theme to write for the next chapter. I just start writing and it comes out. It may not be any good, but it mostly makes sense. It is definitely better than the junk I tried to write in the dark ages back in high school.

I plan to write until I finish the last chapter. I figure there are 4 or 5 chapters for the end/resolution/conclusion, but I have a lot of middle to do. I didn’t do a formal outline, I just know where I want to go with it and how it ends. December and January are my busiest time of year at work, so I will let it sit and work on the second draft sometime after January. Famous last words.

What’s funny is that I haven’t picked the name of the hero, so I just write Hero. I figure I can do a search and replace when I settle on a name.

I think that it has helped that I have more than one blog and for this one I have an article almost every day, often writing multiple articles in a single sitting and then scheduling their publication into the future. I did the April 2014 A to Z challenge for two blogs, one for genealogy and this one. I figured out my topic for each day and had most of them done before the end of the first week. Normally, I have a terrible time coming up with topics. But as I get into this blogging thing and striving for an article a day, it seems that all writing is easier.

I use the programmable text editor NoteTab. I set up an outline document with my notes and miscellaneous ideas and one topic per day. If I write more than one chapter, and keep going, I make a new topic for the same day, but do A,B, etc. I then copy and paste each day’s writing into a single document and use the built-in word count feature.

[EDIT 11/10/2014] I wrote this post a few days ago and scheduled it to post today. I am now over 30,000 words. It is pretty clear that I will exceed 50,000 words in writing this book, at least for a first draft. Amazing!

Biographical Outline

One of my many interests is genealogy. I find it interesting to see when and where my ancestors were in relation to history, another interest – I have a BA in History.

There are many free genealogy programs that make it easy to generate a family tree for printing. If you are interested in a family tree for the rulers of a kingdom, or how a tight-nit extended family in a village tie together, or a major NPCs family, or even for players to chart their characters and how they might be related.

One thing I just saw posted on FB was about a Biographical Outline. There is both a PDF for printing, and a Doc file for editing.

It may not be something you use as a GM for more than a few NPCs, but as a player, it might be helpful to chart the events and places your character was involved in.

Such tools can also be helpful if you want to write a novel with a lot of characters that are related, or a historical novel, or a nonfiction biography.

 

NaGaDeMon – 2014

On Wednesday, I wrote about my considering whether or not to sign up for NaNoWriMo 2014. I had mentioned thhat I had seen things online about similar ideas for designing games. Well, I ran across an article at The Savage Afterworld that discusses NaGaDeMon – National Game Design Month, also the month of November.

While I don’t have a game idea, I thought I’d mention it here, in case anyone else has the inspiration for a game idea and just needs a little push to get started.

I would recommend that anyone contemplating a Kickstarter for a game, use NaGaDeMon as an opportunity to either develop your idea, or to polish your game, so that you have something that you can be proud of and people who support such a Kickstarter will be glad they did so.

I will be signing up for NaNoWriMo 2014 and will be cranking out my first draft of a novel. Just writing about it on Wednesday caused some ideas to bubble up, so I have some things that have solidified in my idea of the story. Not specific dialog, but plot points, or turning points in my story that have to be hist along the way for it to work. I have also identified points that are critical for the success of the story. Some resolution of points that are required to bring it to a successful closure.

For me, a successful closure for a short story, novella, novel, or series of books is where the how and whys are answered sufficiently to leave the reader satisfied, yet still wanting more. How many of us have read a book and when we get to the end are left scratching our head trying to figure out what happened. Some books are this way intentionally, and a well crafted one, you can tell. But if you have ever read a story where the author just couldn’t wrap it up and make it make sense, you know what I mean.

In my story idea, I know how I want it to end, but there is a big hole of how to make it make sense with the rest of the story. This is one of those things that as I write, it will gel and it should not be a problem to make it work. However, if I can’t make the why does this need to happen in the story work, I will have to change how I envision the story ending. If I can pull off the ending I envision, it could lead to a second story/book. That is not my goal, but is an idea that has occurred to me.

I also have tons of other ideas coming to me about my hex in the Tenkar’s Landing Crowdsourced Sandbox Setting. I will have to add those ideas as either drafts or full-fledged ideas to my blog, since some are worthy of an article others may find useful.

I am glad that the ideas are flowing, but it would be nice if they would get in line so I could get them all down before they fade into the ether….

 

NaNoWriMo 2014

I first attempted NaNoWriMo in 2010. Wow, that’s four years ago! My how time flies. I got a good start on an idea I had over 20 years ago in college and never wrote it down. It is one of those ideas that keeps percolating to the top over the years. However, it was a hectic time, and I did not maintain any regularity in my writing.

I debate this every year, of whether to dig in again. The last three years, November has always seemed to sneak up on me.

This year, I have known it was coming, and I have been more regular in my blogging, mostly on this blog, but some on some other topical blogs.

I also write a lot for work, but it is mostly emails, writing up support calls or logging bugs, and some technical writing for how-tos, knowledge base articles, and help files. Not quite the same as creative writing.

I want to blow the dust off and crank out this novel to get it out of my head. That’s how a lot of my ideas work, or thoughts that burden me. If I write them out, I can let them go.

Of course, I want my great novel to make me rich. Enough to retire my debts so I can have the kind of retirement my Grandad had would be enough. He always had enough and paid his bills and didn’t have to resort to being a Wal-Mart greeter, although he had the kind of personality that he would have excelled at it.

I know some people have used it to write their RPGs and board games. There have even been game design contests to design a game in a set amount of time, some in 24 or 48 hours, others in the course of a month.

I have remembrances of games my brother and our friends made up, but I don’t think I have anything close to rules or even a character that has survived the 30+ years since then. I’m not sure I have any ideas for a “new” game that would gather much interest. I would be better at writing a module, a supplement, or maybe my own maps to an existing game or genre of games.

So, I hem and haw and delay my decision. Just over 1,600 words a day, about four times as many as in this post. That’s not unreachable. I easily crank out posts on this blog over 2,000 words. The idea is to kick start a first draft, which is the hard part. Once that is out there, the editing, honing, and rearranging can begin to get the second draft and something worth sharing with others.

Part of me really wants to do this, part of my flurry of blog posts that I am building up in my buffer tonight is avoiding another creative project. So, I must get the blog post ideas out of my head, so I can focus on the other project.

If I get my other creative project out of the way before Friday, I will do NaNoWriMo 2014. I must focus and persevere!