Friday, March 29, 2013

Kagerou's Journal 5

Through the nearest window, I saw two pregnant girls cowering in the corner. I couldn’t blame them. One, the house was on fire and two, the huge bear from earlier was smashing through the door right next to them. I could see the halfling through the smoke as well as the Varision though the Shoanti was nowhere in sight.

Carefully, I edged along the awning until I could wedge my feet to brace myself. Heaving, I lifted the sash of the window. The two girls were right beneath it inside.

“Girls, come here,” I shouted over the crackling of the fire and the bear’s roars. They looked in my direction but didn’t move. Their eyes were wide with fear.

“Come here now! You need to climb onto the roof with me to get out. I’ll help you. Come!”

However, they only pressed themselves further against the wall. The bear was frightening them too much. I was about to reach through the window to grab one of them, but at that moment there came a huge crash that shook the building.

I clutched at the window sill to steady myself. I vaguely remembered seeing the Varisian struggle to help a third girl up. However, my focus was to get the two girls out. Before I could speak, the bear lumbered over and roared right in their faces. I thought I heard the words “climb out the window” in Silvan, but their meaning was lost in the volume of the roar. Understandably, the two girls fainted right where they sat.

The bear, once he shut his mouth, looked around behind him, his nose twitching. Another crash and I saw a small, dark shape drop out of sight through the floor. The bear followed the noise with his head, but was too late to do anything.

It was of the utmost importance to get the girls out if the floor had started collapsing. I reached through and grabbed one of the girls. Her dead weight pulled at my shoulder but I managed to balance her on the window sill. I stopped to rest and massage my shoulder. The strain was almost too much. Grabbing onto the girl, I was about to pull again when the Shoanti appeared on the other side. She was stronger than me, apparently, because she heaved the girls one after the other through the window easily. I caught them and lowered them onto the sloped awning.

I quickly stepped out of the way as the Varisian climbed out of the window and joined me on the small roof.

“Behind you!” I called out and she turned around in time to see the bear start pushing a third girl out the window. He wasn’t very adept at it so she came to rest partially out.

I left the bear and the girl to the Varisian and grabbed the nearest unconscious girl. Eyeing the drop, I carefully jumped to the ground. Now that I was further away from the building I could see that it was in dire condition.

“Hurry up and pass me the other girl,” I yelled to the Varisian.

Inside the first floor, I thought I saw a dark shape, possibly the Shoanti, crawl off the counter, which was mostly ablaze, and disappear further into the house. I thought her crazy, personally, but there was no chance to yell after whoever it was. The Varisian had slid the second girl down the roof. I barely caught her in time as she tumbled off the edge. I lowered her to the ground beside the first.

Looking around I saw the madam still working on organizing the bucket brigade. I opened my mouth to shout at her, but a roar and a crash distracted me.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

NaNoWriMo Spotlight: Jennifer Mitchell aka jenngersnap

Introducing Jennifer Mitchell, known as jenngersnap on the forums. Her NaNo novel was titled "A History of Euron" and was a collection of short stories. It was fun to participate in NaNoWriMo alongside Jen, as I've known her since middle school. She's the wife of Will, and also plays in my pathfinder game (Her character is Stormy, so keep an eye out for her!)

Who are you?

An IT professional at CPCC, as well as an amateur artist and lifelong reader.

Why did you pick NaNoWriMo to consume your November? 

This was my second serious attempt to do NaNoWriMo, although I've done it three or four years total, I think. I still didn't finish, but I did better this year than previous years.

What was your novel about this year? And why did you pick that?

I really wanted to flesh out the world of a comic I have been wanting to draw. I felt that by creating myths and legends and histories that take place long before the comic, the world will feel richer even though those stories may not directly impact the comic itself.

I got a lot of great ideas and myths, even though I didn't make my word count. It was definitely worth it!

What is your typical writing process like?

I like to think about the overall framework first, and then go back and fill in some of the specifics of the story arc or whatever type of writing it is. Then I go over it again, and fill in the specific details. Sometimes, while I am making up the details, I think of a new direction that I want to take the story. In that case, I change the framework and then figure out how to re-adjust the previous details to fit the new shape.

What did you learn from NaNoWriMo this year?

I learned that I need to do a lot more research! World-building is hard, but we live in an amazing world already, so there are tons of very cool ideas to draw from it. The more "stuff" I know about, the more ways I can find to fit it together in a new yet logical way.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Kagerou's Journal 4

The halfling clenched her small fists and took off running as fast as she could on her short legs. I wondered if she was a local, though this town was not known for having halfling citizens. The other two reassured the priest that they would assist and ran after the halfling.

I slipped into the cathedral, instead, and climbed the long stairs to the spire. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to help with the fire, but the sounds from the north spoke of some sort of fight. I didn’t want a horde of goblins sneaking up on the rescue attempt unaware.

Reaching the top, I scanned the distant boundaries of the town to the north. I found the source of the noise quite quickly. A giant with green skin had what looked to be the north gate in his hands and he was using it to smash squealing goblins. His clothing was a curious combination—a too small apron and what looked like a chef’s hat. Somehow a ‘barbarian in an apron’ didn’t seem quite logical. However, before I could do much more than to ponder on the oddity of the scene, the green giant roared and began chasing the fleeing goblins along the north road, soon vanishing into the distance. With that giant on the rampage, I figured the goblins weren’t a threat anymore.

I swept my eyes south searching for the fire. I had slightly miscalculated by not following the halfling for I didn’t know where the healer lived. However, the fire was easily spotted. The smoke obscured my vision of what lay beyond it, but I was fairly certain the healer’s house lay nearly on the edge of the sea.

On light feet I sped downstairs and exited the cathedral. The streets were strangely empty for this time of day due to the goblin attack so I made good progress. When I arrived, the flames had spread even further. Both doors lay splintered. Assuming that the others were inside, I looked around for a means to assist by impeding the flames. Across the street a group of women in heavy make-up stood talking with each other, fear clear in their faces. Prostitutes, I guessed. Extra hands were extra hand no matter whom they belonged to.

One of the women stood slightly apart. She was the only one not talking. Instead she stared at the building. I approached her.

“Excuse me, but are you the madam of this place?”

“I am.” She only spared me a glance.

“Do you have buckets?”

“I do, but for what purpose?”

Now I had her attention. “Could you and your girls help put out the fire by forming a bucket brigade?”

She looked startled but nodded. “I should have thought of that myself. Girls! Go get every bucket we have and fill it with water. We need to help our girls out.”

“Are some of your girls in there?”

“Yes. Three of them and they’re all pregnant.”

“Then I’ll do my best to get them out safely.”

“Thank you.” She hurried off to chivy the girls into line.

Next door sat a shipwright’s shop, but the men waved me off when I tried to speak with them. They were too busy dousing their lumber stock with sea water to pay attention to me.

I turned back to the burning house. It stood two stories high. Flames had nearly completely engulfed the lower story and were creeping up into the second. A sloping roof like awning attached to the building right below a few windows not surrounded by flames. I through I saw movement upstairs so I sprinted towards it, grabbed the edge and swung myself up.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

NaNoWriMo Spotlight: Nicole Lewis aka Wonder Writer

Introducing Nicole Lewis (otherwise known as Lucy of Narnia and Wonder Writer). I'm very pleased to welcome her back for her second interview! She was another word war buddy of mine on the NarniaWeb chat and we wrote many a word while racing each other and the clock. See here for her interview last year.

Who are you?

I'm a 19-year-old girl who is interested in a variety of creative expressions, including writing of course.

Why did you pick NaNoWriMo to consume your November? 

This was my fourth year attempting NaNo- 2008 and 2010 were fails, but I won 2011.

What's new since I interviewed you last year? [last year's interview]

I started dance, which inspired my original novel idea.

What was your novel about this year? And why did you pick that? 

My novel started out as a Mulan remake, set in a different time and place. Mulan has been my absolute favorite Disney movie since I was five, so I thought it would be fun. Problem is, I stink at writing war scenes (much more of a drama-oriented person) and so my novel went through a few (huge) remakes this year. It ended up being a mash-up of three stories, tied together by time travel (thank you Doctor Who).

What is your typical writing process like? 

I usually just get some idea that catches my fancy and I take it, maybe plan a very basic skeleton of a story, and then...pants, pants, pants.

How did your month go? 

I got discouraged due to having to 'restart'/being behind in wordcount so I didn't finish, but at least I got a lot of words down, and I know there's bound to be some good in all the mess.

What did you learn from NaNoWriMo this year? 

Start with something you know, so you don't regret it and have to rethink your ideas once the month's already begun.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Kagerou's Journal 3

A blazing wagon filled the street with light. Several excited goblins were grouped around it, chattering loudly. The fire seemed to excite them so I presumed they had been the ones to set it. Several wielded lit torches.

They hadn’t seen us yet so we charged. The dancer gracefully flicked her scarf full of knives and sliced a goblin from top to bottom. The grey cat hissed and leapt at a second, clawing and biting. The goblin howled and lit the cat’s fur with the torch in his hand. A louder bellow sounded as a large humanoid goblin rushed in. She slammed full force into the dancer. She hefted her weapon and egged on the goblins to attack.

But she didn’t remain standing for long. The Shoanti woman hefted her spear and thrust it right through the chanter’s chest. Her voice abruptly cut off and she fell dead to the ground.

Now that she was silenced, I could hear human screams over the crackling of the fire. I ran towards the sounds, vaguely aware of the cat running away. The others followed and we came upon a disturbing scene. Several goblins had a young human male cornered behind some crates and boxes. One of the goblins was huge. A commander probably.

The dancer finished off the goblin which came running up behind us. Unfortunately, the large goblin was armed with a bow and mounted on a mangy dog. He raised it up and took aim at her but he missed.

Feeling that another archer was my territory, I took aim and fired, hitting the goblin dead center. He howled and I felt a searing pain. A goblin had rushed up and cut me with his dogslicer.  The bear pounded up and with one swipe of his huge paw crushed my attacker.

Another arrow whizzed past us and hit the large goblin. I looked around and saw a female halfling standing with bow raised. I had no idea where she’d come from but I was glad for any assistance. These goblins weren’t hard to beat but their numbers made them highly annoying.

The dancer twirled back into the fight, catching a goblin unawares and tripped him. The large goblin’s next arrow nearly hit the halfling. He needed to be taken out so I shot him in the chest again.

The goblin who the dancer had tripped sprang to his feet. She wasn’t quick enough to hit him again. He slashed at her, cutting a bloody streak through her clothes. The bear roared but his swipe didn’t connect because the goblin dodged cleverly.

However, the goblin wasn’t quick enough to dodge the Shoanti’s spear. A snarl and the dog upon which the commander rode tried to bite the bear. It missed, though, skidding on the cobblestones.

Suddenly I heard the halfling chant something. The feel of magic surrounded me and the pain from my wound diminished. Then the feel of magic changed and it was the dancer chanting this time. A viper materialized and attacked the large goblin and his dog. Both fell dead, bloody from their wounds.

A sudden loud noise startled me and I raised my bow once again. However it was merely the young man clapping.

“Well done!” he cried as he leapt out of hiding. His clothes were of a fine cloth. I guessed him to be a noble. “Thank you for rescuing me, great heroes! My name is Aldern Foxglove. Please, I’d like to give you a reward. Come and see me at the Rusty Dragon for a feast on me!”

He approached me with a gleam in his eye. I still had my crossbow half raised, so I made to put it away.

“Your shooting was fantastic. You must make sure to come to the Rusty Dragon. All of you, come and eat at my expense.” He still looked a little rattled so he bowed and trotted briskly away and out of sight.

I shook my head. He was an odd one and a coward to boot. The others had already begun searching the bodies. Most of the weapons were of low quality but I found a short sword to my liking as well as a healing potion. We divided up the gold between us and trudged back to the square. I opened my mouth to suggest Foxglove, I was hungry, but several loud screeches interrupted me. They emanated from a northward direction. However, as soon as we entered the square Father Zantus rushed up to us.

“Heroes! Please help! The house of our healer, Hannah, is on fire and we can’t find her anywhere.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

NaNoWriMo Spotlight: Will aka Constant Reader

Introducing Will, aka Constant Reader on the site. His novel is titled "A Rose Rent". I was thrilled when Will and his wife informed me they were doing NaNo as well. Will is the magnificent DM for the Pathfinders game my blog serial is based upon.

Who are you?

Born in Tennessee, raised in Arizona and Indiana. Moved out to NC last Summer after getting married and graduating. Currently looking for a career.

Why did you pick NaNoWriMo to consume your November? 

It sounded like a good way to get better at writing. I have a series of books I want to write some day and I need to actually learn to write. According to my favorite author, Jim Butcher, the best way to learn to write is to write.

What was your novel about this year? And why did you pick that?

It was about the decent into madness and restoration. It was a fan fic story that I diagrammed when I was in High School and I decided to finally write it for practice.

What is your typical writing process like?

I have to know what I am going to write. I can't just organically what out what happens, I tend to ramble if I do that. I have to diagram a story with all the important parts so I can link them all together and have pacing and plot and other things readers seem to enjoy.
I'll sit down at my computer put on some music and just start banging away. There is a mental state where your head is in the story and the words just flow that is really hard to cultivate and is extremely fatiguing. 

How did your month go? 

I missed a couple of days and my school work suffered, but my story fell to pieces. I did not finish it because the plot fell apart from so many holes you could have used it as a very flat sponge. I should have gone over the ten year old diagram and re-worked it, but I didn't and paid the price.

What did you learn from NaNoWriMo this year?

You have to plan out the story, do research and have well-developed characters with a well-thought out plot with coherent events that pace the story along well. This provides a solid skeleton on which to flesh out the actual narrative. Once you have the planning done it is simply a matter of self-discipline to actually do the writing, which is by far the most difficult part. It helps to schedule a set time to start writing and use word counts not time amounts to gauge your work. Set up a place where you are comfortable to write and write, just write. Do not worry about anything other that vomiting the story out on the page. If you did the planning correctly the superstructure of the story will hold up the vomit of your writing until you can get around to editing the tea and PB&J smelling mass.

Where else can we find you online?

I hope to start a blog some day, but nothing now.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

NaNoWriMo Spotlight: Lia Noel aka Melian

Introducing Lia Noel, aka Melian, who, if you read my blog last year, participated in my first ever round of NaNo interviews. This is the second NaNo we've warred through together. Her novel is titled "And When the Ocean’s Rage".

Who are you? 

My name’s Bailey, but I go by Lia on the interwebz and I’m a homeschooled junior in highschool. I have four siblings, who are pretty awesome, and two clown fish named Romeo and Juliette (names courtesy of my younger sisters).

Why did you pick NaNoWriMo to consume your November?  

Way back in 2009, when I did NaNo for the first time, it was to avoid having to give a presentation in front of the entire homeschool group. Public speaking of any sort gave me anxiety and I was willing to do anything to get out of it - including writing a novel in 30 days. To my surprise, I actually won and since then it’s become something that I look forward to doing. This past November was my fourth NaNoWriMo.

What's new since I interviewed you last year? 

(Was I interviewed last year? I don’t remember. :P) [Note: Yes, she was. Here's last year's interview]

What was your novel about this year? And why did you pick that? 

My novel was a mash up of several different ideas that had been floating around in my cranium for several weeks. Basically it’s boiled down to being about two ex-thieves, one [Aislin] who wants nothing more than to be at home with her daughter and one [Alex] who is obsessed with revenge. After a man is discovered dead in Aislin’s living room and everything she’s been running from for years surfaces, she and Alex team up to bring down a corrupt government.I guess I picked it because I needed an excuse to write this particular story. I’d been too busy before to get it done.

What is your typical writing process like? 

Open computer and Word doc, open Facebook, procrastinate for an hour, realize my word count is going to be behind unless I write like a mad person, write like a mad person, think about all the pretties on Pinterest, open Pinterest, browse until I remember I was supposed to be writing, go write, decide it’s time to find something to eat, and repeat. 

How did your month go? 

The first two weeks were great! I met the 50,000 word goal on day 16, which was incredible. I didn’t think I was capable of doing that. I went on vacation during week three, but still managed to write about 20k. When I got home, I kinda got lazy. I was determined, however, to get to 80,000 words. I stopped writing at 11:56 pm on the 30th. I had 81,000 words. It was awesome. During November, I was also taking an SAT writing class, which was interesting to say the least. I was kind of hesitant to add NaNo to my schedule at first, but now I’m happy I did. 

What did you learn from NaNoWriMo this year? 

I learned that I can write massive amounts of words in a very short period of time. Originally I wasn’t going to participate, but changed my mind at the last moment.

Where else can we find you online? 

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