It was a Beautiful Day

Today was wonderful. A hike with good friends, followed by a cookout and then swimming in the lake with the same friends. It felt amazing to finally be out and about, doing things I love with people I love. I wish I had more to write, something I’d been thinking about to share, but today was all taken up by loved ones and thoughts of loved ones.

Instead, have a poem.


 

“Who are you and what do you do?”

We often ask this complex question-
Without even the smallest suggestion
Of malice or hint of aggression-
And expect answers without suppression.
We want nothing but a full confession
That includes every single transgression,
Whatever is your chosen profession,
Have you suffered manic depression
What is your favorite possession,
Do you often have indigestion
What you did during the recession,
How goes your latest obsession,
And we listen to every digression
Hoping you fit in a single expression.

Whenever this question is asked of me
I have an answer I give with glee.
“I am me; I just be;
I like to live my life simply;
I am often sad and often happy;
I live according to no decree
And I will not change myself to be free
Of your ceaseless inquiry.”
I will ignore insult and injury
And every single desperate plea
For me to conform to your would-be
Celebrated normalcy.
Instead, I will sit beneath a tree
And continue being me quietly.

NaNoWriMo Day 18 (11/18)

I totally forgot to even write this update until just now. The combination of frustration at the failure to deliver a bunch of stuff I ordered and the enthusiasm that infects me every time I get a new Pokemon game, I’m lucky I managed to write as much of my novel as I did yesterday. I got a full day’s worth in, thanks to a super productive half hour I spent at work, waiting for the weather to clear up a bit before driving home. I punched out and wrote over 1000 words. As a result, I’m actually considering doing my writing time every day right after I punch out at work to capitalize on the lack of distractions and the nagging feeling that I should be using my time productively.

Today, I’m off to a slow start. My packages arrived and I’ve been rather completely distracted once again. This time by Saga comics and, once again, new Pokemon. Today’s Pokemon distraction is a bit more logistical though, as I’ve begun the careful process of catching every Pokemon I can and evaluating their potential as team-Pokemon. It’s all very exciting. At least, its exciting if you like plotting data, doing research, and the different ways the strength of individual Pokemon is measured. I’m certain it’s not everyone’s cup of tea, but data aggregation and application has always entertained me to some degree or another.

At this point, all my distractions have been set aside and now it’s time to get to work. Hopefully I can make good on my decision to catch up in a single weekend. D&D tomorrow night and time with the woman I’m seeing tonight indicate that it’ll be more difficult than originally anticipated. No regrets, though. I’ve got another weekend and four more vacation days I can use. Plenty of time.

 

Daily Prompt

Over-confidence comes in a couple different flavors. Previously, I suggested writing about over-confidence stemming from taking an ability of skill for granted. This time, write about someone using bluster and false confidence to conceal an inability of a self-perceived lack of skill. Show your character trying to cover up their lack of ability with bravado and hot air rather than admit that they are unable or show what they think is a weakness.

 

Sharing Inspiration

Today’s inspiration is actually Sudoku. Anyone, in this day and age, will tell you that the brain is like a muscle and, if you want it to be strong, you need to spend time working it out. A lot of people then follow this up by talking about reading or writing or using your creativity or imagination. The flip side that most people don’t talk about is that this also applies to the analytical and logical part of your brains as well. If you have nothing to do with numbers but spend all of your free time improving your vocabulary, you’re going to wind up with the mental equivalent of someone who keeps skipping leg day. Sudoku is one of my favorite ways to stretch a side of my brain that I don’t use a whole lot in my day-to-day life. The main focus is on logic puzzles, but it also helps with your ability to mentally hold something in place (as you track which numbers could be in each box) and your ability to distinguish individual numbers in large number sequences. The last one might not seem like much of a skill, but it definitely makes it a lot easier to parse through large sets of numbers.

 

Helpful Tips

Anyone can write a lot of words in an hour. If you take one of those writing tests, the online ones that measure how many words you can write in a minute, you should be able to do at least ten times that many words in an hour. Probably even more than that. The main barrier to not being able to write that much that quickly is that you need to figure out what to write first. If you’ve got a long time to put toward writing, you could plot out what you’re going to write that day, maybe one sentence per paragraph. That way, when you finally focus on just pumping out words, you can just fill in the gaps rather than worry about finding the right path forward. You’d be surprised at just how much faster you are, even after taking the time to plot it all out.

 

NaNoWriMo Day 8 (11/08)

I’ve got this song stuck in my head, “Older” by They Might Be Giants. Except, instead of the lyrics going “You’re older than you’ve ever been and now you’re even older,” they’re going “You’re further than you’ve ever been and now you’re even further.” I didn’t write much again. D&D ran a little late and things were going so well I was unwilling to end things early. 6:30 to 11 isn’t super late, but it’s definitely later than we’ve played most days. Usually we’d play from about 6:30 or 7 until 9 or 9:30. The longer sessions are definitely nicer as a the DM, but they’re also harder to incorporate into what is a rather busy month for me…

I shouldn’t be complaining. I had a lot of fun, my players had a lot of fun, and one of the characters almost died because he got kissed by a demon (not the first time it has happened to him). I’d like to spill some more details about what they’ve been doing compared to what I’ve been planning, but all my players could theoretically read this blog post and I don’t want to tempt them with meta-gaming knowledge.

Tomorrow night, after my bills are paid, checks deposited, and laundry is folded, I will sit down and write until at least midnight. I should be able to pick up some decent progress there. I will also attempt to do the same thing Thursday night and Friday night. If I can do that, I might be able to recover my numbers to the point where I’m no longer floating around the 50% mark (pretty sure I’m below even that right now…).

I know I can do this. I wonder if that knowledge is making me over-confident? I suppose we’ll see.

 

Daily Prompt

Every character has strengths and some of them are even fully aware of these strengths. Today, write a scene in which a character not only knows and relies on their strengths, but also gets over-confident and fails because they took their ability for granted. Show them failing when they should have succeeded, not because the task was simple but because they approached it without due care.

 

Sharing Inspiration

If you’re having a hard time coming up with interesting characters, one of the best places to find inspiration (and make sure it stays only at inspiration) is on forums of table top RPGs. My personal favorite, for use as both a DM and a writer, is ENworld.org.  There are just so many wonderful resources for world building and so many well-crafted NPCs and characters lying around that it is almost impossible to browse the forums without being inspired to take your character creation to the next level.

 

Helpful Tips

 

One of the keys to “originality” is to take stuff that already exists and combine it in new and interesting ways. Find five characters you like and mash them all together, trimming off the extra bits and filling in the gaps until you have one fully solid and new character. You can even do this with plots, cultures, and even entire worlds. Mix and match until you’ve got something wonderful and new. There’s nothing wrong with taking notes from existing works or creators, just make sure that all you’re taking is notes and not entire characters or places.