Category Archives: Planning

Getting Started (Helpful for Mac Users!)

Currently Listening To: DARE, by Gorillaz

So I use Apple’s Pages app for my word processor needs. I was use to Word so this was a change for me.

Before I can begin the manuscript for Perverse Selection, I need to set the template correctly.

I knew how to set everything in Microsoft Word, but Pages was a new world to me.

Fortunately I found this blog post that gave me some helpful tips on setting the template correctly.

Unfortunately, it’s an important week at work. Let’s see how many chapters I knock out.


Getting ahead of myself

Currently Listening To: Bomber, by Motorhead (on low volume)

I still need to get Perverse Selection done, but I am already researching ideas for my next story.

I have an overactive imagination.

Also, avoid the jungle juice.

That is all.

So what’s the game plan now?

Currently Listening To: Eternal Rest, by Avenged Sevenfold

So now that the thrill of writing so much in a month has worn off…what’s next?

Well this week I’ll be taking a break from writing. I have a desk job so my wrists need some rest because when I come home, it’s back to typing. Plus it’s a holiday week, so I intend on enjoying it.

But next week? It’s time to get down and dirty.

Compared to previous NaNoWriMo attempts, this novel is pretty clean. I’d say only one or two days were really messy drafts.

I’ve already made a backup of my stuff. I need to review my grammer and punctuation rules.

Not to mention, my room could use some cleaning.

Enjoy your Sunday folks! If you have a twitter follow me @AC_Gates !

Planning for May-sanity.

Currently Listening To: Shattered, by Pantera.

So I am behind on my writing. I need a boost.

Why not spend a whole month catching up..and seeing how many words I can write? Sure that usually happens in November, I figure a summer one won’t kill me. It’ll allow me to get fit for the fall.

Fit for writing that is…

Anyway, so this weekend will be spent making sure I have my plot holes plugged in and my characters know what to do.

Why am I choosing to torture myself? It’s because I realize that I spent so much time trying to make just one chapter perfect, I never get to move on. If I ease up on that kind of stuff and just get content down, then I’ll be more than willing to clean it up. I guess it’s just my style.

Productive Weekend (no writing though)

Currently Listening To: An episode of Spongebob Squarepants playing through my iPod.

Ever had any of those weekends where you have a lot to get done, and you actually manage to get all of those chores done?

Chores included:

  • Reorganizing my room.
  • Cleaning out the computer.
  • Car work.
  • Laundry.
  • Vacuuming.
  • Dishes.

I didn’t get much done in terms of writing done though. But since I got these chores out of the way, there will be less distractions!

I’ve been working on my plot though. I have an overall big picture drawn out for the plot, but the details are still hazy. Well, more like two thirds of the plot is pretty solid, but one third is still very shaky.

One method that has been helping me is drawing a cause and effect diagram. Remember that what you include in the story must drive the plot in some way. So any plot point I include in the story must cause a future conflict.

So for example, let’s say I have my MC spend all night playing video games and snacking on junk food, despite knowing there’s a big battle the next day. His arrogance  leads him to believe that it will be a quick fight.

Seems insignificant right? But this causes problems in the next chapter, because the MC isn’t operating at 100% and his opponents are fresh and ready for battle.

Remember, you have to get to Point A to Point B somehow.

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.

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?

Let’s Do It.

Currently Listening To: Time To Pretend, by MGMT

So I, A.C. Gates, vow to take this novel, Perverse Selection, seriously and by the end of 2012 (give or take a few months), will have a polished manuscript, synopsis, etc. ready to be sent off. If after everything I do, I still can’t get an agent, then I will consider independent publishing.


A.C. Gates.

…figured I had to get that in writing.


A Title!

Currently Listening To: Won’t Be Fooled Again, by The Who

Decided on a title for now!

Perverse Selection

The opposite of natural selection.

Priorities and What Drives The Plot

Currently Listening To: Lost, by Avenged Sevenfold

So, NaNoWriMo is starting to look more and more…bleak.

Not because I’m chicken.

There’s a good chance I’ll have to work some major overtime at work next month. I won’t bore you with why.


I found this nifty little article on the website Writer’s Store

As the URL suggest, this is an article about whether your story is action-driven or character-driven.

There’s a quiz that you can take to determine what you prefer to write.

Myself? I seem to prefer a little of both.

I like characters that evolve. I like characters who make mistakes and learn from them. After all, they are human (usually). Like the protagonists,I want to leave the story with an experience that changes something about me.

Maybe it’s my view on life after reading The Stranger and seeing Mersault finally break down about the meaningless of life.

Maybe it’s how I take on the inevitable fact that I grow up after reading Harry Potter and watching Harry, Ron and Hermione grow and take on the difficult tasks that lie ahead of them while dealing with seemingly trivial things that were a big deal for their age.

But to watch those characters grow, I need to see them fall on their face. I need to see them work hard to achieve something. Let them be faced with death and finally break out. Let them try and win a tournament there weren’t suppose to be in. Does it hurt me that the protagonist fails sometimes? Of course it does, but when a character gets back up and continues to climb over the hurdles placed in front of them, I want to keep turning the pages. What happens in the end?

I want to see a character go from point A to point B. Don’t just say they did, show it! Every action they take to reach their goal, I want to see them fall and get up.

A character could be the most interesting guy or gal ever, but if they have no goals, why would I want to read about them?

So in short, I favor action-driven stories just slightly more than character-driven stories because I want to read about a character who has goals. I want to see how and if they achieve them and how the “quest” changes them (hopefully).