Sunday, September 28, 2014

NaNoWriBlo: Oh God, Not The Backstory!

Also known as "this thing happened, but I don't want the plot to revolve around it." Also known as balancing story, setting and backstory. Yes, I talked about this before.

But first, time for some NaNoWriMo history on my end:

For my first NaNo, I didn't actually plan that much. I had a setting and some characters and I knew the specific plot twist I wanted. Then again, it was set in a world I had already established years ago, so no big deal there. This is actually the one I like the most, even though it gets weird.

My second NaNo was set in a whole new world (insert reference here). I did lots of planning for the setting, and I had that huge list of things I didn't want to turn into huge plot points because that's been done and I felt it was kinda ugh. I struggled to get my 50k and padded with all main characters watching the key scene of the ending.

My third NaNo was me trying to write by the seat of my pants and I failed horribly. I restarted after ~5 days, but couldn't catch up any more.

So I had varying degrees of story, backstory and setting, and I'm still not sure what the right combination is. But I have learned from my past mistakes, so, in order of the NaNos that taught me that, here's my list of things I'm trying not to do this time:

I won't let specific aspects of the setting take over everything.
I won't try to desperately exclude facets of the setting/parts of the backstory.
I won't drop all story planning because I think I can pants this.

Let's see how fast everything derails this time.

The Big Event

Right now, there's basically one big event that's defined in the setting's history, and that's the attack on the mining colony town Betsev-4. People died, people were injured, the town was damaged, but most importantly, it was an incredibly bold move. Even twenty years after it happened, this event is still present in the minds of people. You could say it changed the world. Not just Betsev itself, but the whole network it's part of.

My first idea was to go "but this is not what the novel is about". Problem is that it is. The main character was present when it happened, so of course there's got to be an influence.

That doesn't mean it's the main plot. Twenty years is a long time. Just because something influences a character, that doesn't mean it's all there is to them. In this case, sure, Betsev-4 is going to come up, and it's going to play a role, but it's just that. I wish I could draw landscapes, because then you'd get concept art.


Words: 0 (Still not november.)
Current status: I'm fighting the urge to make Yuka more popular. Also, I think I worked out how Betsev-4 fits into the plot, but it's still kinda vague. I'm also not sure what Yuka's and Ron common backstory will be. If there is any. (And I still fail to draw Yuka.) There's also going to be a space pirate clan leader, maybe the one who lead the clan when the attack happened, or her heir. I think I have to think about space pirates more.

Monday, September 15, 2014

NaNoWriBlo: The Lead Guys

I promised a blog post, so here it is. Since I talked about the veeery basics of my novel last time, this time I'll start throwing around details. Character details. There'll be some general blah about the setting, too, but that's unavoidable because characters can't always stand alone. Also, be warned, here there be bad art.

Who Are You?

So far, I have two main characters, and a few minor ones.

This is Zackory. He's in his early to mid twenties, but not always feeling his age. When he was five, pirates attacked his home town (more on that in another post), which cost him both his parents and his eyes. Zackory was adopted by a lower/middle class family, who cared for him, but did not have the money to provide the high tech prostetics required to still follow his dream to become a pilot.

Despite all that happened, Zackory's not supposed to be a dark and gritty serious business character. Sure, the attack left its mark on him, but he's not defined by it. Also, he did not have a shitty orphanage childhood. That trope can die in a fire, along with "you're not my real dad!" and its annoying relatives.

This is Ron. He's ~35-40 years old and used to work as a cargo pilot for a delivery company. They went bankrupt and, among many others, Ron was let go. He's generally a nice guy, but he wouldn't shy away from saying his opinion, even if that means he has to be rude.

Ron's supposed to be a foil to Zackory, but I have no idea how their dynamic will really play out. I don't have much set for him, as I feel that his personality will change and adapt a lot to what the story needs.

Aside from these two, I do have a few vague ideas about my supporting cast.

Yuka: Yuka runs a small bar near Zackory's home. She's a wiry woman who looks like she's constantly hungover. Most of that comes from being a vampire, but running a bar takes its toll on her too. She's got long, black hair, which mostly hangs down over half her face, giving people the idea that she can't see them properly. Spoiler: She can. The hair's basically her version of sunglasses.
She's always got an open ear for drunk and desperate patrons, and even though she sounds bored and disinterested, her advice is helpful after all.

Zackory's Brother: Here things are getting vague. I only know he's two years older, stayed in contact with his brother and joined the military. But he exists, he will probably show up and... I don't know... he exists? Ask me later.

And that's it for characters so far. It's not much, but I'm not someone who can plan characters. They happen while I write.


Words: 0 (Blog posts don't count.)
Current status: It's basically the same amount of stuff as last time, plus a huge even in the story's past, which will have an influence on the plot. I even mentioned it here.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

NaNoWriBlo: So I'm doing this, and I'm planning on winning.

Yes, I'm still alive, I'm just working a lot.

Also, in ~2 months November is coming up and with that comes NaNoWriMo. I've already talked about how novels conceived during NaNoWriMo are first/zeroth drafts at best, and how you really shouldn't think you wrote a novel you can publish.

This year, I decided to also write about me writing. How meta. But yeah, I think this will help me focus/stay on track, and if you people like to read rants/ramblings anyways, I'm happy to provide some more.

But it's September!

I know. But if I look at last year, I also know that I'm not one to write by the seat of my pants. I need a certain amount of planning and a certain amount of pre-NaNo time to make up my mind about what I want to write and where I want to go with it.


Words: 0 (Duh.)
Current status: I've got my two main characters set up, as well as a side character. I've got a very general idea what the setting is, and no, I'm not going to reveal that yet. Also, I think I have a general idea for where the plot should go. And I'm getting a wallpaper for motivation. I'll link that one too.

That's it so far. More on November 1st. Whee~