Posts Tagged With: d&d

Chasing Nonconformity

We shall begin with a simple question. Were you intrigued by the title of this post?

No: Curses! Perhaps I was being overly optimistic about my own brilliance.

Yes: Huzzah! You are a person of incredible wit and taste. I applaud you, sir or madam.

Enough shenanigans. “Chasing Nonconformity” is the working title of my current WIP (work in progress). It’s the sequel to Imminent Danger and How to Fly Straight into It, and basically picks up where the first book leaves off. Like Imminent Danger, the sequel features space battles, sexy mercenaries, six-armed reptile warriors, and a generous helping of ridiculousness.

I wrote Chasing Nonconformity while I was living in South Korea, so I imagine that had some influence on the various characters and events of the story. I definitely borrowed heavily from the Korean language when making up names for planets, aliens, foodstuffs, and assorted sci-fi paraphernalia.

To give you some idea of where it’s at, I shall now share with you:

Michelle’s Official Writing Process

1. Write.

2. Wait six months. Review and revise.

3. Wait six months. Review and revise.

4. Give book to my mother.

5. Receive book from my mother, heavily scribbled upon with red pen and “constructive criticism” that makes my soul weep bitter, bitter tears.

6. Review and revise.

7. Give book to friends.

8. Receive book from friends, heavily scribbled upon with pen that starts in red, then shifts to blue/black/green/purple when they inevitably lose their red pens. Rejoice from all the supportive and optimistic feedback.

9. Review and revise.

10. Give book to my mother.

11. Receive book from my mother, heavily scribbled upon with red pen and “constructive criticism” that makes my soul weep bitter, bitter tears.

12. Review and revise.

I wanted to include the step of “Actually publish the book” on that list, but as it hasn’t happened yet, I felt including it on the list might be premature. With Imminent Danger, I’m somewhere around “Step 37: Review and Revise. Again. For the final time, this time, dammit!”

With Chasing Nonconformity, however, I’m waaaaaay back on Step 6. Exciting times are ahead, my friends! First I have to finish completely re-writing the middle section of the book, then head to the end and cut out a ton of plot. Hopefully I can use all this extraneous plot in future sequels, but I’m not going to beat myself up if that doesn’t happen.

So that’s basically what I’m working on right now. I’ve been kicking around the idea of attempting NaNoWriMo this year (because my attempt at Camp NaNo this summer went so well), so ideally I’ll get Step 6 of Chasing Nonconformity done before then.

I appear to be babbling. I’ll stop. What’s your writing process? Where are you at with your current WIP? Do you have any tips for cutting down my current writing process to something a little less insane?

Random video of the day: a chilling look at the “Dungeons & Dragons” phenomenon.

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Categories: Self Publishing, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Monday Fun — Random Name/Plot/Place Generator

So remember how I wrote that post about a character creation quiz? From the awesome that is Dungeons & Dragons comes yet another cool tool to help out we imagination-starved authors.

Squid.org’s Random Name Generator doesn’t just generate random silly fantasy names. It also generates random silly fantasy plots, silly fantasy town names, silly fantasy monsters, and even tree-types. The trees aren’t silly, but it’s still fun that someone made a random generator for them!

There’s about 40 different generators to choose from, and they’re all fantastic. Even if you don’t want to write a fantasy story, I’d say it’s worth checking out just for the sheer entertainment value. Here are some of my favourites:

Generator: dramatic-situation

LOSS OF LOVED ONES
Elements: A kinsman slain, a kinsman spectator, and an executioner.
Witnessing the slaying of kinsmen while powerless to prevent it.

Generator: title

Gryphonslinger

Generator: Book Titles

History of Hassitic Architecture, by Care Carhan the Magnificent

Generator: QuestGen

  1. Grimald Shortbreath the Architect (impulsive elder high elf male, quiet) sends party to talk to Duryaith the Messenger (tender short teen dwarven male, gap-toothed).
  2. Duryaith the Messenger (tender short teen dwarven male, gap-toothed) gives party heavy ballista.
  3. Heavy ballista needs to be used at forgotten mansion in swamp.

Random Meme of the Day: Nyan Cat!

 

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Character Creation Exercise

So I play a little game called Dungeons & Dragons (heard of it?) which can be either an amazingly fun or horrifyingly dull experience based on who plays with you. One of my favourite parts of D&D is character creation, where you get to build your own character from the ground up. I think I actually started playing D&D before I started writing, which leads me to wonder if I didn’t get into writing because of D&D. Running a game in D&D is basically the same as writing a novel – you lay out the plot, the characters, the conflicts, the rewards, and then you play out the story as your fellow D&D players help you fill out all the details.

Anyway, I’m getting off topic. The point is that D&D introduced me to a method of character creation that, with a little tweaking, works great for authors trying to come up with new characters. All you need is a basic six-sided die (like the one in the picture above), a sheet of paper, a pencil, and the instructions I’m about to give you.

This basically works like a quiz, except you use the dice to choose your answer randomly. So, each question has a series of answers from 1-6. If you roll a 1, then your answer is #1. If you roll a 3, your answer is #3, etc. Record your answers on the paper so you don’t forget what you rolled. You can come up with some very interesting characters this way, because you never know what combinations you’ll end up with, and then you have to work out a back story that explains how the character ended up the way they did. Even if you don’t use this character in a story, it’s still fun to do the exercise and just see what ridiculous characters you can come up with.

Ready? Okay, go!

Where is my character from?

  1. Medium-sized city
  2. Cozy hamlet
  3. Isolated village
  4. Wilderness
  5. Sprawling metropolis
  6. Exotic locale

What is my character’s family like?

  1. Large family
  2. Only child
  3. Orphan
  4. One parent living, one dead
  5. Nuclear family
  6. Adopted family

What is my character’s favourite activity?

  1. Reading
  2. Sports
  3. Fighting
  4. Networking
  5. Intellectual pursuits (math, science, etc.)
  6. Breaking the rules

What is my character’s goal in life?

  1. Wealth
  2. Fame
  3. Love
  4. Relaxation
  5. Accomplish something great
  6. No goal

How is my character’s love life?

  1. Married
  2. Divorced
  3. Recently broken-up
  4. Unrequited love
  5. Single
  6. Complicated

What is my character’s spiritual belief?

  1. Monotheistic
  2. Polytheistic
  3. Atheistic
  4. Agnostic
  5. Spiritual, but no organized religion
  6. Formerly religious, but lost the faith

What is my character’s personality?

  1. Optimistic
  2. Curious
  3. Easily angered
  4. Compassionate
  5. Apathetic
  6. Nervous

What is my character’s worst memory?

  1. Death of a loved one
  2. Mugged/attacked
  3. Betrayed
  4. Loss of honour/social standing
  5. Natural disaster
  6. Abandoned

How does my character react in a crisis?

  1. Panics
  2. Keeps a level head
  3. Looks to others for direction
  4. Is only concerned with himself/herself
  5. Freezes
  6. Takes the lead

What is my character’s most prized possession?

  1. Book
  2. Vehicle
  3. Animal
  4. Weapon
  5. Trinket of sentimental value (e.g. locket, comb, etc.)
  6. Money

You’re done! Congratulations!

You have officially created a character. Now you need to figure out why they are the way they are. For example, I will go back and do the exercise, and share with you my findings. Hang on, let me find a die …

Okay, so my dice rolls are: 4, 1, 2, 1, 2, 4, 5, 3, 6, and 2. What does that mean for my character? For ease, we’ll say it’s a she.

She was born in the wilderness. She comes from a large family. She enjoys playing sports. Her goal is the acquisition of wealth. She’s divorced. She’s agnostic and apathetic. Her worst memory is being betrayed. She takes the lead in a crisis, and her most prized possession is a vehicle.

Now I take my answers and connect the dots. She was born in a remote location to a large family, so she comes from a large clan of traditionally-minded, down-to-earth country folk. She’s very athletic, because she loves sports. Her favourite sport is mountain biking, and she loves her bike above all else. She was married, but her husband betrayed her, and she’s apathetic to life in general because of it. However, she’s also very strong-willed, and wants to get ahead in life by accruing a large sum of money. From here, I extrapolate. Why does she want money? Perhaps her loving, down-to-earth family is in some sort of financial crisis, and she needs to help them before the whole family goes under. Or, maybe she is a professional mountain biker, and wants to win a competition and therefore the championship purse. Because of her apathy, she’s probably feeling very lost after her husband’s betrayal, and therefore has trouble connecting with people or opening herself up to the idea of dating again.

I’ll probably throw away this character. She doesn’t strike me as the kind of character I would spend time writing a proper story about. But you get the point!

Now go forth, create a character, and let me know in the Comments how it goes 🙂

Humorous meme of the day:

Categories: Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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