NaNoWriMo starts in 1 week!

So with one week left, let’s see what our preliminary work has accomplished. Ideally, you’ve defined your setting, profiled your characters, determined an end, and now are hard at work dreaming up all that comes in between.  It’s pretty much the equivalent of burning rubber: the brake is still on — no writing as of yet — but the engine is firing on all cylinders.  Story ideas are clouding your head, filling it to the brim so that your thoughts are getting bogged down by clusters of words and ideas.  So what’s a gal to do?

The enginerd in me can’t help but apply the law of physics to the situation.  You’re not going to blast off the starting line from zero to sixteen-hundred words instantaneously. The energy of dreaming doesn’t directly translate to forward momentum; like a racecar (or a starship) it’s got to accelerate.  So if you want to reach a steady writing pace of 1,600 words a day (and preferably more, just in case turkeys and shopping get in your way), go ahead and let off the brake.  Today.

Can you feel it?  The momentum starting to build.  Today 100 words, then 300, 750, 1,200… You’ll be  at the desired pace before you know it, but it’ll take a few days to get there — to remind the fingers how to type that much, to allow the brain to focus its energy on creating words on a page.  Acceleration will decrease the closer you get to your target velocity, so . . . → Read More: NaNoWriMo starts in 1 week!

It’s Her Universe…

Tricia and Ashley at the C5 Her Universe Booth

…and thankfully we’re all living in it. If you watch TCW on Cartoon Network, you might recognize the name Ashley Eckstein as the voice of Ahsoka Tano.  If you’re a fangirl – or a guy who likes a fangirl – and you’re not quite familiar with the name, then here’s why you should be her biggest fan.

In the beginning I didn’t want to like Snips – as Ahsoka was quickly dubbed by Anakin. As I’ve previously described, I was initially quite skeptical of her sudden appearance in the Star Wars canon. Somehow, though, this spunky, back-talking, Jedi-in-training has managed to win over many fans, including me, and I think her success is emblematic of what TCW has done for the fans – both old and new.

When you see Ashley and her fellow actors, artists, and production staff at work, whether it’s a convention panel, a meet-and-greet at Disney’s Star Wars Weekend, or doing general press, what sticks out is their own dedication to the franchise. This isn’t just a job to them, and they all seem to embrace the love and enthusiasm that has and will continue to bolster the Star Wars franchise – because just like us, they’re fans too.

For the fangirls, though, it is Ashley’s charge forward into product areas in an underutilized demographic group that has rallied a base that the Powers That Be have previously failed to recognize. Realizing that female fans were stuck, for the most part, with buying apparel designed and fitted for their male . . . → Read More: It’s Her Universe…

NaNoWriMo starts in 2 weeks

start dreaming

As the days count down, two weeks now until NaNoWriMo, there’s a growing excitement among the participants. I’m certainly planning to attempt to get my 50,000 words written. This time around it’ll be some parts blog, some parts fiction, so I won’t be producing a body of work that will ultimately be something that stands on its own as an identifiable whole.  But that’s okay – the story I’m writing is much larger than 50,000 words, so there’s no way I could complete it in a month, anyway, and what I do write will have to be locked away until some time after November when all the cleanup shall begin. But the blog posts will definitely be something to show for my efforts. At least after they’ve been edited, lovingly – and at times not so lovingly – rearranged, smushed, expanded and molded into a string of thoughts I feel worthy of presentation for public consumption.

As a person who’s written more than my fair share, it’s taken a while for me to work out a system that keeps the muse flowing. In hopes that you too can achieve that lofty word count goal, I’m going to share a couple of my secrets.

We’ve talked about defining the setting of your story – the where – and then visualizing your end – the where to.  So once you’ve got the map of the right locale, and you know where on the map you want to end up, the last really crucial piece of . . . → Read More: NaNoWriMo starts in 2 weeks

The Clone Wars – It’s not just for kids

The Clone Wars

I have to admit that when Lucasfilm announced its newest animated series, The Clone Wars (TCW), would be aired on the Cartoon Network, I was a little nonplussed. When the story direction was laid out in the promotional material, I grew even more apprehensive. As a fan of the Expanded Universe (EU), I really didn’t want to like this thing George Lucas was creating. I like my books and comics, and I really like the fact that Star Wars has one continuous (if occasionally bumpy) timeline.  The previously existing Clone Wars era stories were already really good. So with no offense meant to the brilliant mind that created Star Wars, I definitely started out as one of the many adult, longtime fans who expected The Maker to just muck things all up, doing more harm than good.

Despite those initial fears, though, I couldn’t resist flipping the channel to something that said Star Wars.  I felt like one of Pavlov’s dogs, the remote control switching in an automatic reflex to those two familiar words aligned. At first, I didn’t even tell my friends or my fellow Star Wars fans that I was curled up on Friday evenings with my pretzel sticks and soda to partake in Anakin Skywalker’s adventures with his padawan.  His pada-what? My EU-crazy mind definitely had trouble wrapping itself around that one.  As of 2008, any self-respecting fan knew that Anakin Skywalker didn’t have a padawan. I mean, really, wasn’t a major source of Anakin’s consternation in Episode III the fact . . . → Read More: The Clone Wars – It’s not just for kids

NaNoWriMo starts in 3 Weeks

21 days and counting until NaNoWriMo kicks off on November 1st. At this point everyone is enthusiastic, and I’ve had fun discussing some of the issues facing individual writers who are preparing to participate this month.  Even if you can’t write 50,000 words, the program is a good way to share the joys and frustrations of etching out a new story.

In my last blog my enginerd brain sorted this process down to words per day – roughly 1,600 or so, even if you hit every day.  Well, don’t forget that Thanksgiving sits right there at the end of November, and it’ll probably gobble up a day or two of your writing.  And if I know one thing about writing, it’s that starting is always the easy part. So in order to avoid the inevitable pre-holiday time crunch compounding with the I-must-finish-this-ginormous-writing-assignment dread, I’ve got just the potion to cure the depressed-writer blues.

Are you ready?

Here it is:

Know THE END!

Yep, that’s it.

I already talked about setting your scene, knowing your world.  Now it’s time to truly decide what story you’re going to tell. I don’t mean Space Princess Angst-Ridden Beauty meets Cyber-Cowboy Stud. (Actually, I’m pretty sure you already had that part.) What I’m talking about is the actual end.  See it, taste it, smell it.  If you have to, write out that scene and put those two words magic words on the page.  Then you can say, “I see THE END. That’s where I’m going.”

In my time as reader, editor, . . . → Read More: NaNoWriMo starts in 3 Weeks

Knight Errant and Brownie Sundaes

Del Rey and Dark Horse kick off a joint storytelling venture this week with the premiere of a new Star Wars comic, Knight Errant. The initial February SW.com announcement didn’t give any overt clues that this series would be based around a central female Jedi, so I didn’t pay the news any particular attention. It wasn’t until the Comic Con announcement, which provided more information on the series, that I realized it might be something worth checking out in my quest for strong heroine-based stories. At Celebration V, I picked up a copy of Star Wars: Knight Errant:  Issue #0. The cover boasts a young female Jedi, Kerra Holt, with a blaster in one hand and lightsaber in the other.

Recently I sat down and gave the preview issue a read. This is the comic world’s version of a trailer, just a snippet of a storyline, a short section setting out the story’s context, then shifting into an action sequence for Kerra and her fellow Jedi. Intrigued, I continued reading the interview with author John Jackson Miller. One part that caught my eye read as follows:

…trying to protect the Republic, Kerra Holt, our protagonist, heads straight toward the trouble far behind enemy lines.

Note the word choice of “protagonist.” Much of the interview follows up on the initial announcement’s themes of exploring the Sith culture and discussing Kerra’s struggles as a young Jedi sent off into the real galaxy of far, far away. Several of the author’s other interviews also have emphasized . . . → Read More: Knight Errant and Brownie Sundaes

NaNoWriMo starts in 4 weeks

On November 1st, National Novel Writing Month kicks off. This is a month aspiring writers buckle down and share the fun and heartache of putting imaginations’ journeys on to the page. Mission accomplished is 50,000 words – in 31 days or less.

The first time I saw NaNoWriMo’s concept the writer in me was intrigued. The engineer side, though, did a little quick mental math – 50,000 divided by 31 days equals 1,612.903 words a day.  That’s a LOT of writing for someone strapped with other responsibilities besides writing. What student, mother, or person with a full-time job has a couple extra hours to spare every day of the month to indulge in writing? Skip one day a week and you’ve got 200 more words on your plate on each of those other days…

And that’s exactly the point of this program.  There are always going to be distractions, but sometimes we just need a reason to buckle down and write.  If the goal of 50,000 words is reached, NaNoWriMo awards the writer with the prize of… being recognized for it. (This is just a shared journey, after all, not a contest!)

Ultimately, the point of the exercise is more about quantity than quality. For many participants, just putting words on the page is what they need as a start. So why bring up NaNoWriMo now?

If quantity is the ultimate aim, then a little planning will really help ease the struggle of producing words in the month to come.  A writer needs a vision . . . → Read More: NaNoWriMo starts in 4 weeks

October 2010 Preview

At the beginning of every month, I’ll post a brief preview of what’s to come.  Here’s my first glimpse of topics I plan to address in the month of October.

It’s not just a cartoon for kids – Star Wars: The Clone Wars: Episode 304 (yeah, I know it’s a mouthful) airs tonight at 9pm on the Cartoon Network. This week’s episode is titled “Sphere of Influence.” I’ve found the stories on TCW to be compelling and will discuss the reasons they’ve swayed this skeptical EU fangirl to watch.

Giving us Her Universe – Ashley Eckstein, the voice of TCW’s Ahsoka, has used her enthusiasm for her character to reenergize fangirls everywhere.  With a new product line of geek chic and a new message boards, Her Universe is filling a gap fangirls have long been waiting for.

NaNoWriMo – National Novel Writer’s Month kicks off November 1st. The goal is 50,000 words in 30 days – it’s ambitious, and you can do it with your writing friends. I’ll discuss tips for planning prior to embarking on a journey into your own imagination.

Knight Errant – The new Star Wars comic Knight Errant drops this month on October 16th. I’ll give my take on the preview issue, and what we might expect in issues . . . → Read More: October 2010 Preview