Monthly Archives: March 2012

Side Projects

Currently Listening To: Critical Acclaim, by Avenged Sevenfold

While Perverse Selection is the biggest project on my plate, I can’t help but branch off every now and then to write short stories or flash fiction pieces.

It gives me a break from the world and characters I’ve created to go exploring other worlds. I get ideas for other stories, but I don’t want to forget them. Why not draft a story really fast?

Obviously, if a deadline is approaching then I would put Perverse Selection above all else. Yet there are days where I’m itching to create another world, or give a character a test run.

What about you all? Do you avoid the urge to work on another story? or do you take a break now and then?

 

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Being Sick

Currently Listening To: Nothing

I hate being ill. Fortunately, a big steaming bowl of Campbells Chicken Noodle Soup hit the spot!

Posts to come when I’m at 100%. Right now my bed looks really cozy…

 

Putting a face to those characters (Part 2)

Currently Listening To: Scream, by Avenged Sevenfold.

This is how dedicated I am to my blog viewers – I am making a post after a night of Irish pub hopping.

Anyway, so in this post I had discussed how I go about designing my characters physically. However this mostly applied to human characters. What about aliens or other creatures?

Well, the inspiration can come from many sources. Watching TV shows and reading novels of the sci-fi and fantasy genres. Researching animals and some of their amazing abilities. Folklore from different countries and cultures.

I use all of those. I also utilize another source: video games.

Games that take place in some setting other than Earth (or games that involve alien invasions of Earth) will have monsters that are literally out of this world. The concept of “alien” might be completely redefined for you.

Now, this is worth saying again:

Now keep in mind, the point is not to copy characters off of other shows or stories [or video games] (seriously, don’t do that). But rather they can be used as a stepping stone and then you, the author, add your creative touches to them.

Ideas can come from anywhere. Observation is one of your strongest tools as a writer.

A Short Story By Yours Truly

Based on a very recent and true story.

My headphones shielded me from mindless banter as I sat on the bus heading towards the Metro station. The sky was still dark as even the sun was still waking up. My cracked phone kept me linked to everyone and everything.

I got to the bus and went to the train terminal. In seconds the train sped by, halting to a stop before opening its door for a short period of time. I squeezed inside the train with everyone else and claimed a corner for myself.

As I watched the trees and the cars that were stuck in traffic, I kept having that feeling that I forgot something.

I began crossing off a mental checklist.

Keys? Check.
Wallet? Check.
Lucky Underwear? Check.
Phone? Chec-wait a minute!

I inspected all my pockets and my backpack. My heart was beating faster than the tempo of the song I was listening to. My worst nightmare was happening: my phone was left on a bus during rush hour!

I got off at the next stop and waited for a train to come that was going in the opposite direction. I kept cursing at the screen showing the arrival time of the train to update. Time wasn’t on my side.

The train came at last and I took it back to the station where I boarded the first train. I ran up the steps and went looking for someone, anyone who could help me. Fortunately someone was wearing a jacket that literally said How can I help you?.

I located the man and explained my story. He understood my concern and directed me to a bus driver who was off duty. I visited him and knocked on the bus. He got off his chair and opened the door. I jumped in and told my story as my heart kept on racing.

He pulled out his radio and made calls to the buses with the same route as mine, inquiring about a lost phone.

“Negative. No lost phone here”.
“Sorry, no phone here”.

My heart sank. Someone must have taken it with them, when they found it. I stood as the bus driver thought what to do. It was an awkward silence.

Then a call came on the radio.

“I have a phone here. I repeat I have a phone”.

My face lit up. The driver asked my savior where he was and then told me what stop to meet him.

I took the next bus to the specific location. My mind wasn’t at ease.

What if he found the wrong phone? What if someone broke it beyond repair?
Even if it was my phone, what if a stranger could get into it?
What if my parents called me and a stranger called them back for malicious purposes?
What if my crush texted me and the stranger took her away from me??

All the worrying made for a good time sink. I got off the bus and found the supervisor. I told him about the phone and he took it out. It was mine! Same brand, case and cracked screen!

Before he gave it me, he verified it was my phone by calling it. I gave him my number and the phone thankfully began to ringing.

I wanted to dance to that tune.

Written from my phone.

Putting a face to those characters (Part 1)

Currently Listening To: Undersea Palace, originally from the game Chrono Trigger. Covered by Rare Candy.

Our characters are our best buddies right? Don’t you just want to have dinner with them, or bring them to happy hour?

*blank stares*

Ok…maybe not all of your characters.

Anyway, when you’re writing your chapters, I’m sure you’re running the scenes all through your head:

The princess with the silky golden hair, the green eyes, and the curves… is screaming as the the dark wizard – an aging man with white hair and a savage beard whose brown eyes send shivers down your spine – prepares to release her soul into a mighty volcano.  The hero, a tall and muscular man with a shaved head, blue eyes that are full of life, and skin that’s just a shade below pale, is climbing up the treacherous land mass in order to save the girl he loves.

Did you come up with physical characteristics out of the blue? Maybe had a hat full of those traits and picked a bunch to design a character.

Or when you were planning out your characters, you thought of people you know and/or seen and probably used them as a template?

I went the latter route. Nothing wrong with the former though.

I utilize the application Evernote and basically have notebooks for each of my major characters. Before I began planning them out, I went on Google and searched images of actor and actresses. If I had friends with striking physical features, I noted them down. When I was enjoying sitting by the river on Sunday, I was observing people and all those images are fresh in my head.

One other tactic I used is my ears. No my ears can’t see things (that’d be one heck of an episode of synesthesia though). My characters need a voice. I love watching movies and TV shows, why not use them as a study tool? Characters who are typically sarcastic could sound a bit like Dr. Gregory House. A character who runs his mouth might have echoes of The Doctor.

Now keep in mind, the point is not to copy characters off of other shows or stories (seriously, don’t do that). But rather they can be used as a stepping stone and then you, the author, add your creative touches to them.

What do you guys think? How do you go about creating your character?

A Guy and A River

Currently Listening To: Kings and Queens, by 30 Seconds To Mars

I love good weather. Not too hot or cold. A sunny day with a cool breeze.

After a day of playing with Nerf blasters, I decided to take it easy the next day.

I overslept because of DST, but I managed to quickly shower, throw on some clothes and go down to Georgetown.

It was somewhat crowded, but I could still find seating.

Before I got writing, I had a refreshing lunch:

Soup!

Nothing like a filling bowl of soup!

With the sun still high in the sky, and a cool breeze blowing, I grabbed a cold beer and soda and got to writing. Another chapter knocked out.

Also took the time to enjoy sitting near the Potomac River:

Picture of the Potomac River.

Picture of the Potomac River.
Picture of the Potomac River and the city

It was just great listening to my favorite albums, enjoying my favorite beverages, and watching people enjoy life:

  • A young couple exercising together.
  • Group of college students studying and enjoying each other’s company.
  • A woman enjoying quality time with her dog.
  • A family throwing bread for the ducks.

It’s time like this I truly enjoy.

Zombies

Currently Listening To: The Wolf Is Loose, by Mastodon

It’s a sunny day outside, it’s the weekend and Spongebob Squarepants is on. Life is good.

I then get a message from some comrades.

A zombie has been spotted in a town a fair distance away. It catches humans who stray from their groups and infects them. The town must be secure.

I realize what I must do. I must aid my comrades.

I must arm myself:

Nerf Blasters

A primary weapon and a secondary weapon.

My primary weapon is the Rayven CS-18. It’s a semi-automatic blaster with a big clip. Its range is pretty good so I can have some room between myself and brain-hungry zombies. So long as the batteries keep running, this blaster keeps firing!

In the event of empty clips, I carry a Maverick REV-6. A reliable sidearm, it has decent range and can hold six darts.

It’s also important to carry supplies!

Bag and socks

Lightweight and useful!

I carry a state-of-the-art drawstring bag with extra ammo and emergency supplies (bottle of Gatorade, for example). Also, I stock rolled-up socks, in case I need an emergency long range weapon.

With missions like collecting keys, passcodes to antidotes, etc, teamwork is especially important. We must stay focused!

Wish me luck!

Me holding a Nerf Blaster

Disclaimer: I'm not that good.

 

Another Freebie!

Currently Listening To: Almost Easy, by Avenged Sevenfold

So in my last post, I talked about a book I found in a pile of free books.

I looked earlier and I found another keeper:

20120308-121110.jpg

I always seem to struggle with short stories, so this will be a helpful read.

So who blessed me with good luck?

Love my friends, and my new book!

Currently Listening To: Testify, by Rage Against The Machine

So one of my good friends had recommended a book to me a while back. She really loved it and I said I would look into it.

Months past and I end up forgetting about it. Not a good friend am I?

Yesterday at work, there was a pile of books and a note on top:

FREE BOOKS

I’m a curious guy, I go through the small pile. Nothing strikes my eye until I get to the biggest book. I see the title and suddenly I think of my friend (let’s call her Chels).

During my lunch break I begin texting her, asking about the book she had recommended.

Chels: Hmm I can’t remember but if I had to guess I’d say Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett. It’s like my fav book ever and it seems like something I’d recommended to you lol

Me: Hahaha. Well at work there was a pile of books titled “Free Books”. I found this:

I then sent her a pic of the book and yup – it’s Pillars of the Earth!

Excited to read it, I began reading it on my ride home from work. My eyes were glued to the book. I took the motion sickness like a man and kept reading.

Today I’m about 25% done with the 900+ page story. Instead of going home, where I could have been distracted with dishes, laundry, video games, etc, I just went to a local Chinese place, ordered a big bowl of soup and kept on reading.

There are many characters in the story with their own adventures and the author does an amazing job bringing them together at various points of the story.  I never feel like I am reading something pointless, because I know at some point it will be connected to another character’s story.

To pay back the favor, I told Chels about a book I really liked and would recommend to her: The Glass Castle, by Jeannette Walls.

What would I ever do without my friends?

Fire! Fire!

Currently Listening To: Courage, by Alien Ant Farm

Just fired off my first chapter of my latest draft. Man. That. Felt. Good.

An excerpt, just to show I’m not making this up:

    He opened the front door and barely avoided a plasma shot fired by the nervous driver. Aiden groaned as he grabbed the driver and slammed his head through the steering wheel.   He then opened the passenger door and sat inside, next to a morbidly obese bald man who was sweating buckets. He was Mr. Hings.

Aiden made himself comfortable as he went through the mini-bar inside the limousine. Mr. Hings tried to open the door on his side, but Aiden stomped on his foot really hard, breaking it. The obese man screamed in pain and clutched his leg. Tears were rolling down his cheeks as he realized he couldn’t make a run for it.

“Ah here we go. Good old sugarstone soda. It’s even chilled too!” Aiden exclaimed as he pulled out a glass bottle with a dark fizzy liquid inside. He melted off the top and began drinking the refreshing soft drink. He then turned to the injured Mr. Hings.

“So tell me Mr. Hings, how does it feel to not have someone looking at your injury? Must be…painful,” he said as the man glared at him with his teeth clenched. Aiden took another swig of his soda.

“Pardon my lack of creativity, as I’m just better at expressing myself through actions rather than words,” Aiden said as he finished his drink.