nanowrimo novel 2011


In the Devil’s Shadow

Uriel Collins knows that he is a resurrected man. He knows that he was once a villain by the name of Isaac, though he does not remember anything prior to his violent death. He’s going to Mileston anyway, to seek out whatever remnants of the life he may have inherited from Isaac. It’s so hard, not having a past. Everyone needs to start somewhere.

There are some sins so black that even a monster couldn’t possibly ignore them. When Uriel decides to dig up the crimes of Isaac Collins, both the living and the murdered have plenty they want to say. Some speak in riddles. Some speak with guns.


If you’re doing NaNoWriMo 2011, you can find me here!

Happy writing!

smug writer pride

Last September, I told a man I worked with about NaNoWriMo (national novel writing month). This is normal. I am easily provoked into gushing about my writing projects. This man’s wife heard about it from him. She’d always wanted to write a book. So she joined up. And she wrote her 50k. And then she wrote another thirty-thousand after November, and started revisions.

My co-worker came to me yesterday, and announced that I’d created a monster. His wife has spent the last four months working tirelessly on her book, reading things aloud to him, making him listen to ideas, incarnations, drafts. She now has a near-polished complete novel, and is working on her query letter.

Smug writer pride. I has it.

back on my feet

Hello Internet! … Yep. It’s been a while. What have I been up to?

Well, I fell behind NaNoWriMo, crashed and burned for the first time. It seems that writing a seven main character novel, starting at the twisted middle without a firm outline, and pressing yourself to a sprint and a marathon at the same time is stupid. Limits, I have found them.

Ever since then, I’ve not been able to write on my novel. Not one pained word, no matter how I talked myself up.

So in the three months I’ve been gone, here’s what’s happened instead:

  • My contract job didn’t call me back, and I’ve been living on carefully counted pennies and applying to work since. The silence I’ve been getting in response is really depressing.
  • I’ve been working on my chat/roleplay epic saga daily with a good writing buddy of mine. As if it were a full time job. It’s not real writing in that the prose is horrible, the viewpoint unsteady, the plot without classic novel structure, but my partner has a very different style than mine, and he’s naturally very good at action, moving plot forward, hurting the characters, and introducing new elements to a story. The story itself will never see the light of day, really, but I like to think it is teaching me something.
  • I’ve begun modeling in 3d again, earnestly working on a character from said roleplay saga. (Facial analysis, body reference sheet, modeling turn-around). I mean to complete him– texture maps of all kinds, and then rigged for animation.
  • I watched a few movies. I re-read Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing and Twelfth Night. I noticed that Shakespeare always has at least two witty ‘banter’ characters as crowd-pleasers in each play, or at least, he does in his comedies.

And then today I was reading a book called ‘The Writer’s Journey: mythic structure for storytellers & screenwriters’, and something clicked on in my head. A flip of a switch, the music in the background, the rhythm of a galloping horse whilst I drove home through the rain. The whole of my steampunk novel, as a series of structured elements. The ‘journey formula’ this book describes appears, naturally, unintentionally, in my novel. And I can identify where I’m stuck, and what it must lead to to get to the next step.

I’m about ready to start writing again. I think that I know what needs to be done.

it’s begining to feel a lot like nanowrimo

Because I’m a hopeless addict, I’ll again be participating in this year’s NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know what that is, and you want to write a book, go check it out. If you are participating, buddy me!

Since I’m only halfway through The Artificer’s Angels, I’ll be finishing that this year. I have a badass ending in mind, and a fuzzy idea about the middle, and too many main characters. I hope I can juggle them all.

nano excerpt

My latest NaNo excerpt:

The Crooked Cabaret.

Three establishments, all sharing the same space and name, none of the lot respectable.

Entertainment! Singing women wore too little behind guarded doors, windows blacked out with board and paper to keep High Hope’s decency laws. There the girls wore too much makeup, and during the shows in the middle of the night they would remove their stockings and put legs up on chairs, showing glimpses of their thighs to titillate and delight a male audience. Back stages doubled as brothels– a portion of the girls sold themselves on the sides. Muscled bouncers stood guard over the doors, exterior and dressing rooms both. They were paid extra for the latter.

Alcohol! While not illegal in High Hope, the bar in the second subdivision of The Crooked Cabaret could make a man go blind, and moonshine was illegal. Not that they called it that. Not that they bought it, or had it tested– the bathtub and a second-hand water extractor was the beating heart of the establishment. Sticky floors and sticky bar stools, grubby coins and the smells of urine and vomit lingered at the edges. A few drinks of the house special, though, and none of that shone through.

Miss Polly Owens was in the last portion, nestled in the back between the two others. Near enough to hear the drunks shouting nonsense, near enough to hear the singers in their backstage rooms. Red fabric pinned to the walls, old pillows in piles– nothing more to the furniture but a few candles. Polly leaned up against her cushion and blew opium smoke from her mouth, eyes shut and peaceful. Others about did the same, all in silence. Someone sang one room over. Polly didn’t care to open her eyes, nor discern whether it was a drunk carousing or one of the ‘real’ singers. It all sounded the same after a while.

… I wonder where this story is trying to take me. It’s already ramping up to look far longer than I’d intended.

the villain who took over my plot

Imagine, if you will, a party of heroes trapped with Whirling Blades of Doom! ™ coming down on them slowly from above. Stone sides, no secret doors, no weapons or ‘I forgot I had these’ moments.

Suddenly, the door is kicked open! Maxwell has arrived!

Maxwell grabs his son, turns, and slams the door on the rest of the heroes’ faces, leaving them to their fate. Hey he never said he’d save them, after all.

This isn’t something that happened in my story. Yet, this is somewhat typical of Maxwell’s behavior. The greatest jerk you’d ever meet– an animated man in his late forties, armed with his black clothes, top hat and cane. A mad scientist in every way.

Since making his appearance on camera, he’s enslaved a dead man, drove through the countryside in a giant mechanical crab (terrifying more than a few farmers in the process), left my heroine to die, broken into a water factory, pulled his gun on more than a few people… only stopped short of killing because of the nice people he had to team up with.

He was supposed to be a villain. So why isn’t it working?

I can’t tear my eyes off of this guy.