Thursday, 10 March 2016

Last Days On Narvis 347

Kalvin is an astronaut, far far away from home. In fact he is dying, stranded on one of the many planets he set out to explore. But, as the prospect of death lingers, is there hope for salvation? Or simply an even greater doom in disguise?

Last Days On Narvis 347 is a sci-fi short story (about 4k words long) that I wrote more than a year ago. I have a few short stories stashed away and it is my hope that I will start releasing them here in the coming weeks.

I hope you enjoy ;)

Monday, 10 November 2014

NaNoWriMo Day 07-09

Writing rhythm has definitely improved during these last few days. In part due to the "word wars" that the Portuguese NaNoWriMo facebook group tends to engage with. It's a simple and effective way to get rid of the natural self sabotaging. And it's also a good way to meet a few new people - which I have. They all seen much younger than me but everyone's a geek and that means I'm most definitely closer to home ;)

I've been writing around 5k words a day, one day focusing on just one of the stories. I do find it easier this way. The "rest day" does help getting back on track with a kind of a fresh attitude to the story.

I started trying to write the tales in "book order" but it just wasn't happening. So I've decided to simply write whatever I feel like after reading my notes. Whatever jumps my eye I go for it. I've been using word styles to create automatic chapter headings which has really helped also. And just today I made notes on each of the chapter headings for the magician's story. It helps a lot to see which scenes have been written - and will make it a lot easier to reorganize all the material. Tomorrow, whenever I'm feeling uninspired with the prisoner story, I will do this as well. Some of the chapters will have to be broken in two or in three (or completely re-written, shortened, etc) but this is already a good start.

Been writing mostly during the night into the morning and waking up close to the sun going down. The lack of sunlight messes me up a bit - but the night quiet (and the cold...) really helps. It's my current trade-off. As soon as my momentum has built up a bit more I will try to return to a more normal schedule. Today my goal is to go to bed before 6am and enjoy a bit of sun tomorrow afternoon - if it shows ;)

The mage is travelling with his abstruse companion through a series of realms trying to gather forces in order to prevent some ominous force from destroying it all - an obvious plot were it not it's connection to the other side of the tale...

The prisoner has found out a good chunk of his mentor's life. What he doesn't know is that his mentor has left out a quite important part - a part that is directly connected to him. Still don't know when the big reveal will take place, if before or after the execution - probably after... ;) I want to put in enough clues for people to then go, Ah! So that's why that and that happened... but not before I give them the reveal...

Anyway, these are just first drafts - plots holes will be aplenty!

Thursday, 6 November 2014

NaNoWriMo Day 06

Today I wrote 4.5k on the mage story but made no advance whatsoever on the prisoner one. I am feeling this is probably a better strategy, one day each, around 5k works every time. Easier to focus that way.

Most of these words were written under a "word war". Some of the people on facebook group were going for it and I joined in. We did four 20 minute long writing bursts and then did the word count afterwards. A good way to make you focus on the story and just plow through whatever block or doubt you may have on the story. Not great writing but not terrible either. Maybe the seeds for some ideas, for some character and setting were sown. I do know I stayed more with  dialogue rather than with description. Somehow that's always the toughest (perhaps because I find it the most boring...) part for me.
All in all... a good day ;)

Now I'm taking my time to look over some notes, figure out if I'm gonna write a little bit more today but - particularly - what I will write tomorrow. Hopefully then this headache will be gone and it will be easier to stay on top of things ;)


Wednesday, 5 November 2014

NaNoWriMo Day 05

Yep. It's true, this year I'm doing the NaNo challenge once more. In fact, since I have started I have been doing it every year ;)
Last year though I was too tired, too jaded to do more than one project - and it was cutting it close as it were.

This year I feel a bit better so I'm running with two projects in parallel. A Fiction-Fantasy tale and an Alternate History-Fiction story. I started slow (1 or 2k words a day) but now I'm moving closer to my goal (4 or 5k a day, minimum).

Yesterday was one of those days when you just write in 4 or 5 moments - but you write 500 words or more in one go, barely pausing to think or even realize what's happening. I was active in the Portuguese NaNo facebook page also - and it all seemed easy. ;)

Today was a different matter... writing took time... I couldn't see the story moving in my head. Everything was slow and vague. Still, it's 6am and I've hit the 4k target. I was still feeling a bit... I dunno, dissatisfied with the whole thing when I remembered what kind of day this is: it's the kind of day you slow down so that, a few days down the line, you have another one of those days where the words just come out easy and plot and story and characters move forwards almost effortlessly. Yes, this is true - because today is one of the days where the effort was expended.

I didn't write a single word for my mage story. Though I know that he is in big trouble, that he has to go see a big shot and overcome some tests. That's for tomorrow (or in a few hours, when I wake up).
My other guy, the prisoner in my alternate history tale, has however met with his mentor to be and has learnt a bit more about just how uncanny his mentor to be is. They have talked about big things. Tomorrow, if I have time, some smaller things are going to happen to them. And some of the reactions will (have to) be unexpected.

NaNoWriMo is always a challenge. It pushes your buttons and drives you to do better, even with the same constraints. I'm trying to make both stories cohesive (I have a larger plan for both) but at the same time not losing sight of the madness and sense of freedom that can come about whilst doing this. So, lots of lists - and an open mind ;)

Haven't got the faintest idea if I will write more posts here during this month but I hope so. It's long overdue the time to bring this blog back to life ;)

If you're writing out there... good luck! Enjoy!

Sunday, 17 April 2011

The Zone

There is a space that I sometimes enter when I'm writing. It's not easy to define and even harder to reach. I usually get into it after a day where I simply pushed myself to my limit time and time again.
It starts like this.
It's one of those days that I don't want to write and that I even have reasons not to. I'm genuinely tired and I actually need a break. I feel it's the right thing to stop for a day, step back and just plan things ahead.
All of this makes sense, feels right.
But, as it usually turns out, I'm way behind my initial schedule.
So, I just type and type and type.
But it's not easy. It's a goddamned raging war inside of me. There's a part that just wants to stop. Another so blind that simply just wants to write to keep up with some stupid schedule anyway. And another that couldn't care less and that feels all this is but a pointless exercise anyway.
And, whenever I stop, I simply try to see why I am stopping. And keep on going.
And I do this for a whole day. Which, on friday was twelve hours. From 1pm to 1am.
Doesn't seem like much does it?
But imagine skirting almost every pause, every break. And even when you're having one, you're still thinking about what you have to write, what scene comes next, what is actually going to happen there.
Twelve hours non-stop of sabotaging myself and typing beyond all of that, without wanting to, trying to write something that I won't mind too much revising at some point in the future.
By the time I laid on the floor to sleep my mind was reeling. It didn't want to stop. It was an engine whose chains had broken and it was just rolling with this momentum not likely to stop soon.
Took me a few body focused minutes to actually fall asleep.

But today... oh well... you see today I was KNACKERED. Never mind my head feeling like I'd short-circuited it the previous day: my body felt as if I'd been quietly exercising all day. Nothing hurt terribly - but everything hurt some. All I wanted to do was lie on my back and get back to sleep.

But there was another thing. This kind of eerie certainty that words were just waiting for me to sit down and place the tips of my fingers on the keyboard. Not easy words mind you. But words that were somehow closer to coming out.

That's the thing about days like friday. They're tough to pull through. But, when you do, then it seems your mind is working on a different level. Where the writing is looser. Where it seems that you don't care about what you are writing and yet you see it more clearly and it makes more sense than it usually does. Suddenly you're running downhill somewhat. There are still plenty of obstacles but, on a physical level, there is less effort to put into that. But, at the same time, in terms of awareness, one needs to be more vigilant than ever. It's a tough balance. Tough to reach it, tough to maintain it - well, at least in my case. But it's just that that concentration high has a very distinctive flavour to it. And, when it's seasoned (ie, when it has happened to you enough times for you to be okay when it goes away, without worrying about getting it back) then the writing becomes something closer to what it probably should be most of the time. If not pleasurable, then peaceful and clearer.
And that is so terribly important.
After all, I don't know if you've heard but words are deceiving...
PS - There's more to be said about The Zone, but I won't say it here and now. Much too tired. It's 3am. I really should be sleeping now...

Monday, 28 February 2011

Malignancy Update

Well, a few days have passed since I first wrote here...

And I've been working pretty much non-stop at this script. Still have 6 scenes to map out so, I don't think I'm gonna finish it today...

As I write this this script is already 11 700 words long.

And, if all goes well, tomorrow a first draft for it will be ready - though I don't know if I'll read it all top to bottom then... I think I need a break!
(I'll work on another story!)

I think it's been going pretty well. A few scenes gave me problems the last few days. I didn't know how I'd visually recreate the intentions I had in my head but I think what's surfaced so far looks pretty good. The script is riddled with inconsistencies but all of them (or at least most of them!) are deliberate - I hope they'll build up on one another towards the sense of realisation I'm aiming for the reader to have when he/she reaches the end of this story.

Yesterday I once again rediscovered something that I'd found quite a while ago: it's easier for me to create panel/visual descriptions with pen and paper than typing them straight onto the screen (unless they're incredibly clear in my head, that is).

Yesterday I was blocked on a scene. Just kept staring at the screen over and over again and nothing came out. I knew what was going to happen - I just couldn't see it visually in a way that appealed to me.

So I just decided to pick pen and paper, shift body posture and see what came out.

I wrote during the next few hours 11 pages of panels and page layouts.

Of course, today I had to type it all up but it was well worthwhile!

Sometimes I think the hardest thing is to keep track of where our mind is - or wants to be!...

Anyway, the learning curve is working it's magic...

See you tomorrow!
(with a finished script...)


Saturday, 26 February 2011

The Black Dahlia

Is the title of the film I just saw. Brian De Palma directs, based on a James Elroy book, inspired on true events.

Not for everybody I should say. Dark, dark, dark.

If you like Hitchcock... then this is for you.

But if you don't... stay well away...

To be perfectly honest I don't even know what to say about this film. It's too early, too close to be able to. But I feel I've seen some of the most powerful moments contemporary film-making has created.
And this is a pun (somewhat) since so much of what is seen echoes "old school" cinema.

All I can say right now is that I have probably a dozen films that I really want to own (the truly, utterly, impossibly indispensable ones)
And this is one of them.

If only to learn about film-making you should see this film.

And it's a long dark ride.

As soon as I get my grips on "reality" once again I'll write some about it. I think this is going to be one of those films that is going to stick around for a while.

I just hope I won't have any bad dreams tonight.

Whenever I do fall asleep.